Skip to main content

Full text of "The Jesuits Of The Middle United States Volume II"

See other formats



ftahitr ffilthntrg 

This Volume is for 



The Jesuits- 

of the 
Middle United States 








Smprtmi ffttetft: 


Provincial, Cfticago Province 

Censor Librorum 

Archbishop of New York 

August /, 1938. 

Copyright, 1938, by THE AMERICA PRESS 



PART THREE (continued) 



I. Parochial residences and their scope, I. 2. Washington in Missouri, 8. 
3. St. Joseph's residence, St. Louis, 25. 4. Chillicothe in Ohio, 35. 
5. Terre Haute in Indiana, 37. 6. Minor residences, 41. 


I. The Spiritual Exercises and retreats, 48. 2. Francis Xavier Weninger, 
53- 3- German rural missions, 65. 4. English parochial missions, 69. 
5. Arnold Damen and his associates, 77. 



i. The ministry of the pen, 103. 2. Relations with the hierarchy, 112. 
3. Jesuit nominations to the episcopacy, 117. 4. Bishop Van de Velde, 
129. 5. Bishop Carrell, 138. 6. Relations with sisterhoods, 141. 


I. Viewpoints and reactions, 147. 2. The draft, 159. 3. Incidents 
and misadventures, 164. 4. Aftermath of the war, 167. 




i. The restored mission of the St. Joseph, 175. 2. The forced emigra- 
tion of the Potawatomi of Indiana, 180. 3. Beginnings at Sugar Creek, 188. 
4. Government subsidies and the mission churches, 196. 5. The Religious 
of the Sacred Heart at Sugar Creek, 202. 6. Educating the Potawatomi, 
208. 7. Neighborhood tribes, 219. 8. The Miami Mission, 229. 



i. The Flathead deputations to St. Louis, 236. 2. De Smet's first journey 
to the Rockies, 248. 3. St. Mary's Mission among the Flatheads, 264. 
4. Catholic origins in the Lower Columbia Valley, 271. 5. A Catholic 
hierarchy in Oregon, 278. 6. Recruits for the mountains, 290. 7. The 
Willamette residence, 295. 8. The Kalispel Mission of St. Ignatius, 304. 
9. The Coeur d'Alene Mission of the Sacred Heart, 313. 10. The Mis- 
sion of New Caledonia, 325. II. Missionary stations and excursions, 334. 


I. De Smet and Oregon geography, 347. 2. Financing the missions, 351. 
3. Aid from St. Louis, 359. 4. Ministry among the whites, 365. 5. 
The fall of the Flathead Mission, 375. 6. California, 392. 7. The 
mission superiors, 1841-1852, 420. 8. A survey, 1841-1854, 436. 


I. The Blackfeet, 442. 2. The Grosventres and other tribes, 457. 3. 
The Winnebago, 466. 4. The Sioux, 472. 5. Excursions to the upper 
Missouri, 487. 


I. Negotiations with government, 493. 2. Setting up the mission, 500. 
3. Missionary fruits, 504. 4. A season of gloom, 511. 5. The Osage 
Manual Labor School, 518. 6. Civilizing the Osage, 529. 7. The 
mission during the Civil War and after, 536. 8. Missionary excursions 
among the Indians, 555. 9. Building the Church in southern Kansas, 565. 


I. A new home for the Potawatomi, 594. 2. Mission Creek, Wakarusa, 
St. Mary's on the Kaw, 599. 3. Early struggles: the winter of 1848-1849, 
608. 4, Christian Hoecken and the Kaw Indians, 615. 5. Starting the 
Indian schools, 619. 6. Christian Hoecken's last days, 625. 7. The 
vicariate east of the Rocky Mountains, 635. 8. Financing the mission, 648. 
9. Progress of the Indian schools, 658. 10. Father Duerinck and the 
Indian problem, 665. II. The mission under Father Schult?;, 678. 12. 
The coadjutor-brothers, 683. 13. The mission in the literature of travel, 
692. 14. Potawatomi notables, 697. 


Francis X. Weninger, SJ. Facing "page 98 

Arnold Damen, SJ. 98 

Cornelius Smarms, SJ. 99 

John Coghlan, S J. 99 

Peter Arnoudt, S J. 108 

Florentine Boudreaux, SJ. 108 

Charles Coppens, SJ. 108 

James Oliver Van de Velde, SJ., second Bishop of Chicago 138 

George A. Carrell, SJ., first Bishop of Covington 138 

Oregon Trail sketch by Point, I 260 

Oregon Trail sketch by Point, II 261 

Mission of St. Paul on the Willamette 298 

St. Mary's Mission among the Flatheads 312 

St. Ignatius Mission among the Kalispel 312 

Sacred Heart Mission among the Coeur d'Alenes 313 

Michael Accolti, S J. 414 

Sketch of Santa Clara Mission 415 

John Schoenmakers, S J. 522 

Paul Mary Ponziglione, S J. 522 

Log church, Osage Mission 522 

Catholic Osage Mission 569 


Closing lines of letter of W. S. Murphy to Beckx, 

January 15, 1862 Facing <page 158 

Entry by C. Hoecken in the Sugar Creek Liber Parochialis 200 

First page of letter of Verreydt to Harvey, February 24, 1847 201 

Letter of Allemany to Nobili, July 5, 1851 414 

Page of Point's record of baptisms in the "Blackfoot Country" 450 

First page of Point's Missouri River journal, 1847 45 * 

First page of letter of Van de Velde to Medill, July 27, 1847 523 

Entry in Gailland's diary 606 

Page of Duerinck's diary 654 

First page of letter of Duerinck to C. H. McCormick 654 


Jesuit parishes in Franklin and adjoining counties, Missouri 

Facing 'page 20 

Rocky Mountain Missions: sketch by Joset, 1849 

Between 'pages 312-313 

Osage Mission: Jesuit ministerial circuit, Indian Territory 

Facing page 568 

Osage Mission: Jesuit ministerial circuit, Kansas and Missouri 

Between pages 568-569 

Jesuit Indian mission-field, Kansas, 1854 Facing page 678 

PART III (Continued} 




Colleges and Indian missions did not by any means circumscribe the 
field of labor of the Jesuits of the Middle West. No small measure of 
their zeal and energy went into the channel of the parochial ministry 
especially in the small establishments technically called residences. A 
residence in the Jesuit sense of the term is a house of the Society serving 
neither as seminary, college, nor novitiate, but as headquarters for a 
group of fathers engaged, in most instances, in the exercise of the sacred 
ministry. Residences should normally owe their origin to the generosity 
of a benefactor or founder, who provides in their behalf the necessary 
grounds and buildings. Modern conditions, however, have made this 
conception of a Jesuit residence impracticable, especially in the United 
States. As a matter of fact, the residences of the restored Society of 
Jesus have been generally built up on the slenderest of means and at 
the price of continued labor and sometimes great sacrifices on the part 
of the fathers. In return for sacrifices thus undergone the Society secures 
convenient bases of operation for a ministry very dear to it, the imme- 
diate care of souls. "The chief ministries of the Society," so the Jesuit 
rule declares, "are the following: with a view to the defense and propa- 
gation of the faith and the advancement of souls in the life and doctrine 
of Christ, to preach and lecture to the public and exercise any ministry 
whatsoever of God's word 5 to give the spiritual exercises 5 to instruct 
children and the ignorant in Christian doctrine j to hear the confessions 
of the faithful and administer to them the other sacraments 5 to practice 
works of charity according as God's greater glory and the common good 
shall dictate." x 

1 Eptome Instituti Societatis Jesu (Rome, 1924), p. 17. The parochial ministry 
or the care of parishes is forbidden to Jesuits by the letter of their Constitutions. 
The normal Jesuit church is of the type known as "collegiate," which affords the 
fathers opportunity for preaching and administering the sacraments of penance 
and the Holy Eucharist, but involves no parochial obligations. But this type of 
church is now rare in English-speaking countries, in which the Jesuits, conforming 
to general practice, find it necessary to have parishes, if they are to engage in the 
sacred ministry at all. 



The extent to which the midwestern Jesuits sought to realize this 
ideal of many-sided apostolic endeavor thus set before them in their 
Institute may be gathered from an enumeration of the residences or 
quasi-residences, Indian missions apart, which they administered for a 
greater or less period of time. These include St. Charles, Mo. (1828)5 
Florissant, Mo. (1832)5 Portage des Sioux, Mo. (1835)5 Westphalia, 
Mo. (1838)5 Washington, Mo. (1838)5 St. Michel, La. (1840)5 West- 
port, Mo. (1840)5 Taos, Mo. (1844)5 Marshall, Mo. (1845)5 St. 
Francis Xavier on the Willamette, Oregon (1844)5 St. Joseph's, St. 
Louis, Mo. (1846)5 Chillicothe, Ohio (1847)5 Cahokia, 111. (1847)5 
Newport, Ky. (1848)5 Dardenne, Mo. (1848)5 Brownsgrove (White 
Oak), Ohio (1848) 5 Green Bay, Wis. (1849) 5 Manitowoc Rapids, Wis. 
(1851)5 Milwaukee, Wis. (1855)5 Normandy, Mo. (1855)5 Chicago, 
111. (1857). Of these residences, two of which, Milwaukee and Chicago, 
evolved into colleges, only five remain in possession of the midwestern 
Jesuits today (1938), the rest having passed into the hands of the 
diocesan clergy. 

Though circumstances justified or seemed to justify the establish- 
ment of these various centers of ministerial activity, the multiplication 
of so many petty residences, many of them manned by only a single 
father, had disadvantages which did not escape the notice of the Father 
Generals. In the early forties Father Roothaan was urging the Mary- 
land Province to disencumber itself of parishes and parochial residences, 
thereby setting men free for the colleges or for the urgently important 
work of "itinerant missions," very inadequately organized in the United 
States if at all. In 1849 he was advising Father Elet to give up Dar- 
denne and Portage des Sioux and certain other stations if opportunity 
offered. The latter made bold to demur. "Your Paternity has told me 
to surrender [parochial] posts to the secular clergy whenever the Cath- 
olics (always the minority) ask for it. And what is to be done with 
the churches and presbyteries built at our expense?" 2 The reason here 
alleged for retaining the parishes had no weight with Father Roothaan. 
"What the Society did [in this regard] ," he replied, "it did for the good 
of the faithful and for the Greater Glory of God." 3 In 1850 Elet did 
contrive to pass Dardenne over to the Archbishop of St. Louis. "Would 
to God," was Father Roothaan's comment on the transaction, "that you 
could rid yourself of so many [other] missions or parishes, which are 
causing the ruin of the Province." 4 

When Father Murphy arrived in St. Louis in the summer of 1851 
in the capacity of successor to Father Elet, he brought with him explicit 

2 Elet a Roothaan, January 14, 1850. (AA). 

3 Roothaan a Elet, 1850. (AA). 

* Roothaan a Elet, October 8, 1850. (AA). 


instructions from the General on the subject of parochial residences. 
"No steps are to be taken towards opening any new house or college 
or residence, and indeed this matter was recently safeguarded by a 
formal precept. Parishes or stations are to be given up when and where 
the bishops can be induced to accept them. Nor is it to be objected that 
these stations have been founded by the Society with great outlay of 
labor and money." Father Murphy began his administration as vice- 
provincial by withdrawing the Jesuit priests charged at the time with 
the parishes of Chillicothe and White Oak in Ohio and Newport in 
Kentucky. Having learned that Archbishop Purcell of Cincinnati was 
displeased with the measure, he wrote to that prelate August 30, 1851 : 

I regret exceedingly that circumstances did not admit of my having a 
private interview with Your Grace at New York, which would probably have 
rendered this letter unnecessary. The dangerous state of R. F. [Reverend 
Father] Elet, already despaired of, obliged me to hasten on, instead of await- 
ing your arrival in Cincinnati. It has pleased Heaven to spare him up to this 
time, and it is to be hoped that we shall soon have to thank God for his 
recovery. Father Carrell having informed me by letter of Your Grace's dis- 
pleasure at the arrangements in regard to Chillicothe and Brownsgrove, 
[White Oak], from both of which places we are compelled to withdraw our 
missionaries, I communicated the matter to Father Elet, as being better able 
to afford the necessary explanation. I learn from him that Father Gleizal, 
who performed the Provincial visitation in his stead, had apprised the V. [icar] 
General Rev. E. Purcell of the removal from Chillicothe and that he had 
consented to it without difficulty. As to Father Weber's leaving, Father Elet 
remembers having obtained Your Grace's personal approbation. In truth, 
Most Reverend Sir, these disagreeable measures are unavoidable in our present 
circumstances, which I beg leave to state fully, i. Since your departure, 
nearly a dozen German and Swiss priests have been recalled to Europe or 
transferred to Maryland. Missions in Missouri and Illinois have been neces- 
sarily given up, and as to the Indian Missions, we cannot find two Fathers 
for Bishop Miege. 2. Positive orders have been repeatedly given to call home 
those who are alone in any station. The General is very pressing on this head. 
3. He directs us to strain every nerve in order to enable our young men to 
complete their studies, and as a first move in this matter, we have been 
ordered to send several to Georgetown. This obliges us to take wherever we 
can find them such of our priests as are fit for colleges, otherwise we cannot 
do justice to our students, nor to our professional obligations. 4. I have been 
personally directed to press the execution of these points, as of vital impor- 
tance, nay of conscientious exigence. 6 

In 1852 Father Murphy returned to Bishop Van de Velde of Chi- 
cago the parishes of Cahokia and French Village in St. Clair County, 

5 Murphy to Purcell, August 30, 1851. Archives of the Sisters of Charity., 
Mount St. Joseph-on-the-Ohio, Ohio. 


Illinois, which had been cared for by the Jesuits since 1847. Circum- 
stances, however, were not to render it possible for him to carry out 
to the extent that he desired the program of suppressing the smaller 
parochial residences. But he came all along to be regarded as an open 
and avowed advocate of this policy in accordance with the instructions 
issued to him by Father Roothaan. Not, however, that he was out of 
sympathy with the parochial ministry or would deny it altogether to 
the men of his jurisdiction ; but he saw the necessity of restricting it 
within the bounds prescribed by the rule and historical practice of the 
Society. "Residences are as much a need as colleges," he observes to 
Father Roothaan in 1853$ "k ut ^ ^ i g necessary to use so many pre- 
cautions in America to maintain discipline in regularly organized re- 
ligious communities, what unseemly things are not to be found among 
those little groups of two or three Fathers with a Brother or two, to 
say nothing of isolated missionaries. Soon the Jesuit becomes the good 
cure (le bon cure}" 6 

From the time of Father Elet a difference of opinion, more appar- 
ent, however, than real, had showed itself in regard to the relative 
importance of the colleges and the parishes. Favoring the colleges as a 
field of endeavor offering greater prospects for achieving the avowed 
purposes of the Society, were, among others, Fathers Murphy and 
Gleizal, while among the ardent advocates of the parochial ministry 
were to be found especially the pioneer members of the Jesuit group, 
as Fathers Elet, De Smet, Verhaegen, and with them Fathers Weninger 
and Damen. It was argued on the one hand that the fathers withdrawn 
from the parishes could be employed to better advantage in the colleges 
or in conducting missionary revivals up and down the country ; that the 
hierarchy would be pleased with this surrender of the parishes j finally, 
that a life according to the demands of the Jesuit rule could not be ade- 
quately safeguarded in the minor residences. On the other hand it was 
urged that the bishops (for the lack of priests) were not in a position 
to take over the parishes that might be offered them j that a vast deal of 
spiritual good was being effected in the parishes, the good effected in 
the colleges being negligible in comparison 5 finally, that the parish 
churches and rectories had been built at the expense of the Society. What 
Father Roothaan thought of this last consideration has been seen above. 
As to complaints over the proposed surrender of the German residences 
in Missouri, he answered that they would be relinquished only if dio- 
cesan priests were found to take them in hand. This, he explained, was 
also Father Murphy's understanding of the matter. "I have urged that 

6 Murphy a Roothaan, April i, 1853. (AA). 


the smaller residences be dropped only according as the bishops are 
willing to accept and provide for them." 7 

Under Father Beckx the still unsettled question of the smaller resi- 
dences again came to the fore. His attitude in regard to it could not 
be expected to differ from that of his predecessor nor did it. In 1857 he 
expressed to the vice-provincial. Father Druyts, his surprise at seeing 
listed in the register of the vice-province three times as many petty 
residences as houses organized in keeping with the requirements of the 
Institute. "In small residences or parishes, as experience shows, it is 
very difficult to preserve for any length of time the religious spirit 
proper to our vocation." 8 The comment which these words evoked from 
Father Druyts, while not reflecting on the wisdom of the course now 
urged by the Father General, is significant as pointing to the spirit of 
apostolic zeal which had occasioned the excessive multiplication of 
parochial residences. "We are not unaware that the proper spirit of our 
vocation can be better preserved in houses organized according to the 
norm of our Institute. But who can look on indifferently and see such 
a rich harvest lost for lack of harvesters?" 9 In the event it was only 
at a much later period that the policy of reducing the number of resi- 
dences could be effectually carried out. In Father Beckx's time by far 
the greater number of fathers at work in the Middle West were in 
favor of retaining these vantage points for the exercise of the sacred 
ministry, the cession of which to the diocesan authorities was advocated 
by only a few. 

Conspicuous among the defenders of the residences was Father 
De Smet. The sympathies of this remarkable man were at all times with 
the workers in the parishes and with the missionaries, the Indian mis- 
sionaries especially. Jesuit educational activities in the United States or 
elsewhere did not particularly appeal to him nor could he in any proper 
sense of the term be called a "college man." In January, 1855, he wrote 
to the General: "Our German and Belgian Fathers labor certainly with 
much fruit and zeal in these different Residences and Missions. Those 
who are engaged in them could not for the most part render greater 
services to religion in our Colleges. It would be a great misfortune for 

7 "Surrender of certain posts to the secular clergy. This is not to be understood 
of all the posts we occupy, but only of particular cases where, in making the 
cession, one would see an evident advantage from the standpoint of the good of 
souls; a case, for instance, such as that which has presented itself, so it has been 
told me, at St. Charles, where the faithful have asked for a secular priest, which 
the Archbishop was disposed to grant them." Roothaan a Elet, March 18, 1850. 
(AA). According to Elet the request made by the parishioners at St. Charles had 
come from a minority. Elet a Roothaan, January 14, 1850. (AA). 

8 Beckx ad Druyts, October 3, 1857. ( AA )- 
9 Druyts ad Beckx, November 1 6, 1857. (AA). 


our Society to abandon these Residences. I add this last remark, as 
several of our Fathers speak about doing so." Again, in the same year, 

1855, he wrote: "Nothing of the little we possess in Missouri should be 
abandoned by us. The good Fathers employed in those German mis- 
sions do certainly an immense deal of good and could, very probably, 
not as well be employed in colleges to promote the glory of God. Yes- 
terday, Bishop Carrell, who confirmed hundreds of their parishioners, 
declared to me c that nowhere he had felt so much consolation, neither 
had he found better Catholics. 7 " In January of the following year, 

1856, when steps seemed about to be taken to close the residence of 
St. Francis Borgia in Washington, Missouri, he expressed in a letter to 
Father Beckx the pain which "this measure would bring to most of 
the Fathers, especially such as had labored in those parts for more than 
thirty years." Still again in the same year he made known to the Father 
General how deeply he disapproved of the surrender of the residences: 

Reverend Father Provincial [Murphy], ever since he has been in Mis- 
souri, has very often repeated and said openly that the Society in America 
needs only colleges with churches attached to them. He even declared in 
presence of the Vicar-General of the Archbishop [of St. Louis] his intention 
of suppressing all our residences, commencing with the German ones. He 
avows that he has always had an invincible dislike for the residences and he has 
certainly done little, not to say nothing, for their success. All his predecessors 
for the last thirty-five years have been of a very different opinion and would 
have increased the number had they possessed the necessary personnel. The 
effect which this sort of opposition on his part (in which he stands alone or 
almost alone) has produced in the Vice-Province has been to discourage a 
considerable number who had very different desires, (namely) the spirit of 
the missions, when they left their native land to enter the Society in America. 
In point of fact the residences and missions render and have always rendered 
the greatest service to religion in these parts. They keep thousands of poor 
Catholic families in the Faith, while conversions among the Protestants are 
often very consoling. On the other hand, the colleges are without doubt 
necessary and we should have to create them if they did not exist; yet such is 
the moral condition of the country that few young people who go forth from 
them persevere in the holy practices of religion. I have heard this remark a 
number of times from the mouths of several bishops. I think, before the Lord 
and for His glory, that it is absolutely necessary to keep and even increase in 
number, if the thing be possible, the Residences and Missions as also the 
itinerant missionaries \_les missionaires itinerants'] according to the spirit of our 
holy Rules and Constitutions. 10 

As to Father De Smet's unfavorable estimate of the results achieved 
by the colleges, there will be occasion to appraise its accuracy when the 

10 De Smet a Beckx, March 12, 1856. (A). As to Father Murphy's real opinion 
on the residences, cf . supra, p. 4. 


topic of Jesuit education in the West presents itself for particular treat- 
ment. Here it will be enough to contrast the missionary's views regard- 
ing the parishes with those expressed on the same subject by a contem- 
porary of his, Father Gleizal, master of novices and rector at Florissant, 
whose admirably written letters addressed in the capacity of consultor to 
the Father General are replete with illuminating detail. Under date of 
June 10, 1855, he suggested various measures looking towards a higher 
level of efficiency in the work of the midwestern Jesuits. One of these 
was the closing of certain parochial residences in central Missouri. 

To abandon the three residences of St. Francis Xavier (Cole County), 
Saint Francis De [sic] Borgia (Washington, Franklin Co.) and New West- 
phalia (all in Missouri). At a stroke we should thus have at our disposition 
six or seven Fathers, who could help out elsewhere. Note that these country 
residences are nothing else but parishes like those in Europe, with succursal 
(churches), so that our Fathers live therein like good cures (comme de bons 
cures}, exposed like them to the dangers of a non-community and secular 
life, as experience shows only too often. The idea of thus resigning these 
parishes into the hands of the Bishop had indeed occurred long ago to your 
predecessor of holy memory. He wrote at the time to the Provincial to pro- 
ceed to this effect; I mean, to turn these parishes over to the Bishop, but 
slowly and in a way not to cause his Lordship any embarrassment. Now, far 
from displeasing the Bishop, I am persuaded that this measure would please 
him. "And let no one say," added Very Reverend Father Roothaan, "that 
the Vice-Province has incurred great expenses in these parishes; these expenses 
the Society always incurs A.M.D.G." The fear besetting those who oppose 
the cession of these parishes is, that the Bishop having everything in his own 
hands, we shall soon be set aside and have nothing to do. A vain fear, it 
seems to me, since besides our colleges and urban residences, there is a demand 
on all sides for itinerant missionaries. Look at Father Weninger. Has he not 
more work than he can do? Suppose even that the Fathers resident in these 
parishes can make themselves of very little use elsewhere; at least, we should 
not have to replace them in case of death or infirmity. 11 

Eleven years later the first provincial of Missouri, Ferdinand Coose- 
mans, was recurring to Father GleizaPs proposal that the German 
parishes in the interior of Missouri, which still remained in Jesuit hands, 
be given up. "In view of the fact that many bishops offer us German 
or Bohemian parishes, as in Chicago, Covington, Toledo, Cleveland, 
where the harvest would be much more abundant than in our little 
stations in Missouri, I proposed in the last consultation to offer to the 
Archbishop [of St. Louis], with the approbation of your Paternity, 
the German missions of Washington and Westphalia, with their sti- 
pendiaries [stipends or honoraria], in order to employ our Fathers in 

11 Gleizal a Beckx, June 10, 1855. (AA). 


the large towns ad magnam Dei gloriam. To this the consultors agreed, 
not excepting Father De Smet." ia But it was not until about a quarter 
of a century later and more that Washington and Westphalia finally 
passed out of Jesuit hands, so difficult a matter was it to part with these 
historic and cherished centers of ministerial endeavor. With their pass- 
ing closed the long chapter of the movement against the smaller resi- 
dences inaugurated some forty years before by Father Roothaan with 
the sympathy and vigorous support of the Missouri superior, Father 
Murphy, That so many scattered petty parochial stations had come to 
be manned by the Jesuits of the West was an obvious testimony to the 
fulness of their apostolic zeal; but it was withal a development by no 
means conducive to the best interests of the body or to the efficacy in 
general of its endeavors. The familiar saying, "Ignatius loves the great 
cities" (magnas Ignatius amat urbes), expresses the fact that the Jesuit's 
professional quest of the greater glory of God leads him to labor by 
preference amid the crowded haunts of men. Pioneer conditions in the 
United States might have made it desirable for him to burden himself 
for a period with the labors of the rural ministry; but with the passing 
of those conditions the role of country pastor became less suited to 
him, less in keeping with the specific tasks which the Society of Jesus., 
in accordance with the great principle of the differentiation in the 
Church of apostolic effort, feels itself called upon to undertake. 


The large influx of German immigrants into certain of the eastern 
counties of Missouri in the thirties of the nineteenth century was due 
in part to an alluring book of travel and description written by (Jott- 
fried Duden. Duden was a German prospector, who lived during the 
years 1824-1827 on a farm near the Missouri River in the present 
Warren County. He pictured life in Missouri as idyllic with the result 
that "das J)itdwtsc/n* Idyll" was effective in attracting numerous (cr 
man settlers to that part of the United States. 18 

12 CooKemaiw Beckx, November 24, 1866. (AA). In a ronsulution hfltl in 
St. LOUIK in 1860, the Visitor, Father Soprani*, being present, the general wiitiuifiit 
was in favor of giving up the German panshcB in the interior of Missouri* 

ia Uericktff tibw Bine k&lse nach den we stitch en iSV/w/V// WwtlMnerikM ////// 
einen mehrjahrigeu Aufettt/iatt am Missouri (/>* den hthren /#*/, MVA', lt!.!( 
un>tt 1X27) /// ftezug auf Aitswtimttrttttg itntl Vfbewnlktmng ?tt\, ett . (1X39), 
Translation in Missuttri Hhtorical Rwifttt> XII, For ;m aivount of Duilrn^ book 
and its effect on CJennan immifiration to Missouri, cf. Allen B, FutuU, Tht tlfntiMt 
Element In the United States (1909), 1:441 ft sty. Dudctfn farm of two liutulmtil 
and seventy acres was above the Femme (kige River in Warren County, ami in 
the immediate neighborhood of the land on which Daniel Boone lived front 1795 
to 1804* It wa only a few milen north of Washington, Mo. 


At least one of the party of emigrants who left their homes in 
Oster-KappeJn and Belen in Hanover on July 25, 1833, festival of 
St. James, the Apostle, was familiar with Duden's book. The party, 
consisting of twelve Catholic families and some Protestant ones, took 
ship together with the design of forming a settlement somewhere in the 
wilds of America. From New Orleans they ascended the Mississippi 
to St. Louis, where they awaited a steamer that was to take them up the 
Illinois River. They had already boarded the boat when a Catholic 
member of the group, observing that the craft was overfreighted, with 
the travellers' baggage piled up on the open deck exposed to wind and 
rain, declined to remain on board. The other Catholics followed his 
example and disembarked. They found themselves, as a consequence, 
separated at a stroke from the Protestant section of the projected colony, 
which now put off without them. The Catholic emigrants waited in 
vain in St. Louis for another boat bound for the Illinois. At length, 
impatient to be off, they took passage on a Missouri River steamer, 
apparently with no fixed destination in view, but strong in the hope 
that Providence would find some happy issue to their protracted travels. 
As they voyaged upstream, one of the party bethought himself of a 
town called Marthasville in Warren County, Missouri, of which he had 
read in Gottfried Duden's book. Thereupon they all agreed to go ashore 
at Marthasville. But, as the Latin chronicler of these incidents is at 
pains to comment, a kindly Providence intervened a second time in 
behalf of the exiles and diverted their course from this settlement, 
which was to acquire some unpleasant notoriety in subsequent years 
on the score of freemasonry and irreligion. The steamer was already 
at Marthasville when the captain advised the travellers to land on the 
opposite shore as night was fast coming on and they would be sure 
of shelter in a tavern that stood close to the river-bank. The keeper of 
the tavern was a German Protestant, Charles Iberius by name, the 
earliest recorded inhabitant of Washington, Missouri. Iberius, with his 
business partner, Bernard Fricke, welcomed the strangers and lodged 
them temporarily in a large out-building that had been used as a smoke- 
house. Here the twelve families spent the winter of 1833-1834. When 
spring came, they took up and began to cultivate small tracts of land, 
all within a radius of four or five miles. 14 

l * Historia Residential War&ingtonttuis, 1 833-1 886. (A). A Latin year by 
year chronicle of the Washington residence, the earlier part compiled apparently 
by Father SeisJ, This has been the chief source here drawn upon for the history 
of the Washington parish, The heads of the twelve pioneer Catholic families 
were Joseph Hustcrmann, Gerhard Trcntmann, Henry Koerling or Koering, 
Adolph Schmcrtmann, Gerhard Uhlenbrock, Rudolph Uhlenbrock, John Buhr, 
Herman Schwcgmann, Frederick Blockmann, Frederick Riegal, William Weber, 


Washington, chief town of Franklin County, Missouri, spreads out 
on the south bank of the Missouri fifty-four miles west of St. Louis by 
rail and eighty-four by water. In 1836 a part of the town was plotted 
by George Morton and others and called Bassora. In 1837 ^ was 
laid out under its present name by Mrs. Lucinda Owens, whose hus- 
band had held the title to the entire town-site. Various additions having 
been made to Washington in later years, it was incorporated as a 
town in 1840 and as a city in i873. 15 

The approach of the Easter of 1834 awakened in the German 
Catholic immigrants who had arrived in Franklin County the year 
before the desire to fulfill their customary religious duties. They ap- 
pealed for help to St. Louis, but Father Joseph Lutz, then the only 
German-speaking diocesan priest in that city, was unable to lend them 
his services. Happily, the Jesuit fathers, Christian Hoecken and Felix 
Verreydt, while performing the missionary-circuit of the Missouri River 
towns, came to hear of these isolated Catholic settlers and of their 
anxiety to see a priest. Father Verreydt thereupon paid them a visit 
shortly after Easter, 1834, and conducted services for them in the 
Iberius tavern. 10 Mr. Owens, owner of the town-site of the future 
Washington, was impressed with the piety and industry of the new- 
comers and promptly offered them ground for a church on condition 
that they erected a substantial one. They promptly accepted the offer 
and at once picked out for the church-site the ground afterwards occu- 
pied by the town-hall of Washington. But Owens was fatally shot by 
another American resident of the place before his donation of land to 
the Catholics was legally recorded. The court at once assumed charge 
of all his property on behalf of his widow and children, the latter all 
minors, and in the end nothing came of Owens r s generous offer of a 
site for a Catholic church. 

In 1836, at Father Hoecken's suggestion, Father Verhaegen, supe- 
rior of the Missouri Mission, visited the settlement. The following 
year he purchased, or rather obtained as a gift from Gerhard Uhlen- 

and John Edelbrock. Cf. Goodspecd (publisher), History of Franklin^ Jefferson^ 
Washington, Crawford and Gasconade Counties, Missouri (Chicago, 1 888). 

10 Conard (ed.), Encyclopedia of the History of Mmoun (St. Louis, 1901). 
The name Washington appears as early as October, 1835, in Father Christian 
Hoecken's baptismal records. (A). 

10 Hist. Resid. Wash. (A). The Re&stre des Baptttne.s 'pour hi Mission du 
Missouri, (A), contains no reference to Father Verrcydt's ministry at Washington, 
but has the following baptismal entries by Father Christian Hoecken, the earliest 
recorded for that place: 1835, October II, Eliza, daughter of John Henrich 
Klundrop; Frederick, son of Adolph Smertmann; John Henrich, son of John 
Henrich Boor(?); October 14., Marie Elizabeth, daughter of Matthew Hoster- 
mann; Anna Sophia, daughter of John Henrich Pardich. 


brock, thirty-six acres of land in the immediate vicinity o Washington, 
with a view to providing the settlers with a suitable location for a 
church. 17 But the settlers for the moment made no attempt to build. 
Meanwhile Father Hoecken was withdrawn from the Missouri River 
missions and sent to the Kickapoo Indians. In 1837 Father Cornelius 
Walters began to visit Washington from St. Charles. He urged upon 
the Catholics, who then numbered about fifteen families, the propriety 
of putting up a structure, one at least of wood, in which to hold divine 
services. As a consequence of Father Walters's appeal, the spring of 
1838 saw the erection of a small wooden church, thirty by twenty feet, 
on the ground which Verhaegen had acquired and which later served 
as the parish-cemetery. With the concurrence of Bishop Rosati of St. 
Louis, Father Verhaegen placed the little parish, which was named 
for the Jesuit saint, Francis Borgia, in charge of Father Henry Meink- 
mann, a diocesan priest, who had recently served the mission of New 
Westphalia near Jefferson City. 18 In October, 1839, Meinkmann was 
withdrawn from Washington by the Bishop, while Father James Bus- 
schots was summoned from New Westphalia to fill his place. Father 
Busschots arrived in St. Louis September 26, 1839, an d on December 
2, 1839, departed for Washington. He was the first resident Jesuit 
pastor of the town. 19 

47 This property of thirty-six acres, about a mile south of Washington, was 
conveyed September 14, 1837, ky Gerhard Uhlenbrock and Anna Maria, his wife, 
to Fathers Verhaegen, De Theux and Smedts for a consideration of five dollars. 
Another deed of conveyance of the same property, the principals being the same 
as those named above, bears date June 23, 1838. The land thus conveyed by 
Uhlcnbrock was "congressional land," which had been purchased by him the year 
before at a dollar and a quarter an acre. A ms. list (1838) by Father Helias of 
the Catholic stations along the Missouri River indicates that Mass was said at 
Washington on "Uhlcnbrock's place near the town." (A). "J'ai visite, 51 y a pres 
de deux mois, Ics stations du Missouri. Celle dc Washington contient a peu pres 
40 families Cnl'holiqucs (Allemands). Klles sent pauvres; mais en general trcs 
ferventcs. A Martha's Ville il y a 15 families environ." Verhaegen a Rosati, 
November 17, 1837. (C). 

18 Father Meinkmann in his Relatio ad Synodum S. Lttdovici dated New Wash- 
ington, April 1 6, 1839, state8 t ^ iat the Washington church had no title. (A). 
According to this document the church, which was of wood and twenty by thirty 
feet in dimensions, was still unfinished and unblessed. There was no bell nor 
baptistery, but there was a confessional and tabernacle. The parish-house, of wood, 
was unfinished. A cemetery was staked out, but was not fenced in or blessed. 
There had been 1 1 3 Easter Communions the preceding year and seven first com- 
munions. There was no school though the boys and girls of the parish numbered 

10 Father BusBchota's first report from Washington to the chancery office of 
the diocese covers the period January I, 1839 January I, 1840. He gives the 
name of the church as St. Francis Borgia. The parish numbered two hundred and 


Busschots's priestly virtues gained him the esteem of the parish- 
ioners. "Father Busschots/' Van de Velde wrote in a statement (1841) 
prepared for the General, "is much beloved by the people and preaches 
pretty well in the two languages [English and German]." "Nearly all 
the Germans are Catholics," Verhaegen reported of the Washington 
residence in 1841, "and show a better spirit than those Father Helias 
has charge of. So Father Busschots does not complain of his parish- 
ioners nor they of him. He is also acceptable to the Americans, nearly 
all of whom are non-Catholics. He preaches to them not infrequently 
in our church j but so far I have not heard of any conversions." Yet 
some disagreeable experiences were to befall Father Busschots before 
his career at Washington was at an end. The beginnings of the resi- 
dence were marked by dire poverty. "This residence, like the preceding 
one [Westphalia], is extremely poor," Van de Velde said of it in, 
1841, "and is supported in large part by the general funds of the Mis- 
sion. Probably the poverty and destitution of these two residences 
contribute to alienate the Americans from them, especially the Prot- 
estants, who have no idea of evangelical poverty." In the next decade, 
the fifties, the German parishes in Missouri were on a better economic 
basis. "The German residences easily support themselves on their re- 
spective revenues and the alms sent them from Europe, especially from 
Germany." 20 

The course of events in the congregation of St. Francis Borgia at 
Washington during its pioneer days was not an altogether smooth one. 
Father Martin Seisl, its historian, observed regretfully that the size 
but not the peace of the little flock increased with the influx of immi- 
grants from Germany. Confession was often railed against as a gratui- 
tous invention of the clergy and the older folk were hard put to it 
at times to keep the young generation from giving up entirely the 
practices of the Church. As it was, despite the efforts of pastor and 
parents, there were many apostasies from the Faith. These unhappy 
results were seemingly due to the activities of a rather free-thinking, 
anti-clerical element among the immigrants sometimes dubbed the 
Latinians on account of their having, so it was alleged, studied Latin in 
German gymnasia. To the Latinians were also attributed the difficulties 
with his congregation that beset Father Helias in the first years of his 
ministry at Westphalia. 21 * 

sixty souls. (The Annual Letters for 1837 gives the number as one hundred and 
eighteen.) There were, besides, one hundred and thirty souls in and around I 
Marthasville. During the year indicated there had been fifteen baptisms and thrt'c 
deaths. (C). 

20 De Smet a Beckx, January, 1855. (A). 

31 For an account of the persecution to which the German Catholic immigrant* 


In a communication addressed to the General, Father Busschots 
pictures some of the perils that entered into the life of a Missouri 

[The country] is mountainous [hilly] and is cut by the Missouri and 
by numberless creeks, which are sometimes so swollen by heavy rains and the 
high waters of this river that the missionary often finds himself stopped in 
his travels. Another danger there is that is not known in Europe, namely, 
one must cross the creeks and rivers in a canoe, holding on by the hands to 
the horse's bridle. If the nag is a bit skittish and a bad swimmer, he will try 
to upset the frail craft. Once my horse ran away with me into a dense 
forest. Another time I experienced such a dangerous fall that I had to stop on 
the way to have my arm attended to as I feared it was broken. Last summer 
my mission was visited by a sickness which carried off quite a number of 
people j on such occasions one is sometimes on horseback day and night. Your 
Paternity must not be astonished that such accidents befall us ... it is the 
.missionary's life. A happiness it is to suffer something when one is working 
A.M.D.G. 2a 

Again, in November of the same year, 1 844, Father Busschots for- 
warded to the General a graphic account of his fatiguing ministry. In 
the wake of the great flood of the year, the highest in the history of 
the Missouri River, had followed a great epidemic of sickness. "Never 
in the memory of man has Missouri counted so many sick, fatal after- 
math of the floods from the rivers, which have submerged thousands 
,of acres of the richest land in this country and left numerous families 
entirely ruined, For a long time it was necessary to be on horse day 
ind night." At this crisis Father Francis Xavier De Coen, still a novice, 
>yas sent from Florissant to the aid of Father Busschots. He knew no 
German, but managed to acquit himself well of his duties. "So is Provi- 
dence, ever rich in its gifts," reflects Busschots, "pleased at times to 
;less the labors of men of the Society." Owing to the prevailing sick- 
iess the missionary had been delayed this year in making his usual 
round of the stations. Five counties were covered, the circuit taking 
three weeks. "This may appear incredible, but ordinarily he stops in 
each place only for the time that is absolutely necessary to relieve the 
spiritual needs of the faithful In the first place the Catholics are too 
poor to keep us long and, besides, the missionary having sometimes to 
occupy the same room as the whole family, is glad to be off at the 
first opportunity." In these backwoods excursions Father Busschots en- 

in the United States were subjected by radical and freethink'mg countrymen, see 
F. P. Kcnkel, "Subjected to an Acid Test," in Central-Watt md Social Justice 
(St. Loui*), 18:163. 

aa Buuchou a Roothaan, March 19, 1844* (AA). 


countered much coldness and indifference among the Catholics. For 
these conditions he assigns four reasons, the absence of churches, mixed 
marriages, bad books and papers and "heterodox" schools. The Catholics 
were surrounded by Protestants and people of no religion at all. The 
Methodists were making many proselytes among the Lutherans, but 
none at all among the Catholics. "These latter are immovable (inebran- 
bables} and remain loyal to the faith." The Catholic families, being 
too poor to buy them, were rarely found with objectionable books or 
papers, which, besides, circulated chiefly in the towns, scarcely ever 
"among the denizens of the woods." 23 

A further account of the difficulties of his mission was communicated 
by Father Busschots to the Leopoldine Foundation of Vienna: 

The parish to which I have been assigned as pastor by order of my 
Superiors extends over so large a district that five or six priests could very 
properly be employed in it; as it is, the spiritual care of a flock at once so 
considerable and so scattered rests upon me alone. Add to this that they are 
for the most part poor immigrants, who on their arrival here possess, at the 
most, only so much as enables them to buy a little piece of land, to cultivate it 
and from the resulting crops assure themselves a livelihood. Scattered about 
as they are in lonely forest stretches, there is no question of earnings, profit or 
trade in any large way and so they live from day to day on what kindly 
mother-earth brings forth for them. It is only the consolations of religion that 
strengthen their souls and keep their spirits erect. I can truly say, "I have 
pity on the people." Already has the thought many a time pursued me to ask 
my Superiors to recall me hence and place me in another sphere of activity; 
but the consciousness that after my departure the good people might for a 
long time be left without a spiritual guide, abandoned to the intrigues of the; 
sectarian preachers to become only too early a prey to seduction and suffer 
loss of their souls, has overcome my despondency and moved me to bear with 
them still further the heat and burden of the day as long as it shrill please the 
Supreme Pastor of all. But there is still one wish the gratification of which I 
have very much at heart. We have as yet no church and my own poverty awl 
that of the whole congregation does not allow of our building one. The 
present wooden barracks in which we celebrate the holy mysteries is more like 

28 Busschots a Roothaan, November, 1844. "That the losses through defections 
from the Faith among German Catholic immigrants were comparatively insignifi- 
cant must, to a great extent, be attributed to the watchfulness and acliveneaa of the 
German pioneer priests and the leaders among the laity . . . the great majority 
of the German Catholics who had remained faithful to their religion in their 
native land preserved the faith in America. . . . Well instructed and well forti- 
fied as most of the laity were, they became in reality what Rolhacker called them 
because of their tenacious adherence to their faith, 'IncorrigiblesV* K. P. Kenkel 
in Central Blatt md Social Justice^ 18:199. Compare Buaachota'a deamption of his 
parishioners as "immovable" (inebranbables) . Still, as the Hist, Resid. Wash. 
records, there were many deplorable defections. 


a miserable stable, as it is so poorly put together out of boards and logs as to 
admit freely rain, snow and hail through every joint. 24 

Towards the close of the thirties immigration from Germany rose 
steadily higher. Already in 1839 there were two additional German 
Catholic settlements in the neighborhood of Washington. These were 
situated across the Missouri River in Warren County, one four miles 
above and the other four miles below Marthasville. The settlement 
below Marthasville assumed the proportions of a town, to which was 
given the name of Dutzow. Mass was said by the Washington pastor 
at these two points in Warren County, first in private houses, but after 
1 840 in the frame churches erected during that year in both settlements. 
The church at Peers, above Marthasville, was named for St. Ignatius 
Loyola, the Dutzow church for Saints Peter and Paul and later for 
St. Vincent. A tract of forty acres near Marthasville was purchased 
by Father Verhaegen in 1840 for the use of St. Ignatius parish. 

Meanwhile the frame church on the outskirts of Washington no 
longer answered the needs of the growing congregation and a new one 
began to be projected. Mrs. Lucinda Owens, widow of the Owens who 
had offered the Catholics a church-site in 1834, having secured fifty 
acres from the guardians of her husband's property, attempted to start 
a real-estate boom in Washington. With a view to furthering her design, 
she offered the Catholic parishioners four town-lots as a location for a 
new church.' But on the part of a certain group of parishioners there was 
stiff opposition to building the church within the town-limits, and so, 
taking the matter in their own hands, they began in 1842 to build a new 
and spacious church of brick on the old site. Work had not proceeded 
far when the bricklayers and masons fell to quarrelling, giving vent 
to their feelings in language violent and profane. Father Busschots, 
mild and sensitive man, withdrew forthwith from any share in the 
enterprise, being loath to begin a house of God under such unpromising 
auspices. The town-party subsequently got the upper hand, especially 
when John F. Mense, a one-time Catholic and a son-in-law of Mrs. 
Owens, offered an eligible site within the town for a church. 25 In 1 844 

"BericAt* fa LevfoMintn Stiftung, 18:31 (184.5)- 

20 September 23, 1844, John F. Mense and wife conveyed to Father Van de 
Vcldc lots 3, 4, 5, and 6 in block 36 in the town of Washington. Lots 7 and 8 
in the same block were acquired June 12, 1852, from Frank H. Free. On these 
lots the present church and residence of St. Francis Borgia arc built. On two 
occasions Father Busschots was cited before a local judge, "a thing," he observes 
to the General, "which you will think incredible." Father Verhaegen, vice-pro- 
vincial at the time, convinced of the father's innocence and "shocked at such black 
ingratitude," ordered him to return with all his effects to St. Louis, This he did, 
but after some months was back in Washington "for the sake of the majority," 


a committee of parishioners visited St. Louis to solicit funds for the 
projected edifice. They collected only a small sum; but Father Van de 
Velde, Verhaegen's successor as vice-provincial, offered to contribute 
five hundred dollars. Broad foundations for the new church had been 
laid and one hundred thousand bricks purchased when the rural group 
put a check on operations by insisting that the church be built of stone. 
To restore peace between the parties, Father Van de Velde, with instruc- 
tions from Archbishop Kenrick of St. Louis, visited Washington in 
August, 1845. He communicated to the congregation of St. Francis 
Borgia the prelate's explicit order that the new church was to be built 
inside the town of Washington. The only question left for decision was 
whether the congregation desired to build a second church. To this 
question the rural group answered in the affirmative. As no agreement 
could be reached on the further question where the second church was 
to be built, Father Van de Velde declared that it would have to be 
put to a vote and settled accordingly. One important result issued from 
the deliberation. As the congregation decided in favor of a second 
church, it became necessary to build the Washington edifice on a smaller 
scale than was at first contemplated. The foundations already laid were 
thereupon changed and reduced to smaller size. It was a regrettable 
alteration of plan, for in the event the second church was never built 
and as a consequence a new and larger town church had soon to be 

In 1845 Father Busschots was replaced at Washington by Father 
Anthony Eysvogels, on whom devolved the erection of the new church 
of brick. Before the end of that year architect and builders from St 
Louis were at work on the structure, which was roofed in by the spring 
of 1846. It was blessed by Bishop Barron, Vicar-apostolic of the Two 
Guianas, on St. Francis Borgia day, October 10, 1846. Eysvogels there- 
upon discontinued services in the old church, which was at once taken 
down and put up again in Washington as a school-house. Under Bus- 
schots school had been conducted in various farmhouses by a hired 
teacher. Eysvogels himself taught the boys in the new church until the 
school-house was ready for use. 

An account of the blessing of the new church in Washington was 

who remained faithful to him. Only two or three individuals, it appears, were 
responsible for the trouble fomented against the father, whose return did not, how- 
ever, end the differences among the parishioners on the subject of the location of 
the new church. "The opposite [i.e. rural] party murmurs at the arrangement and 
weanes me with complaints and cavillings." In 1844 Father BuwchotB as an escape 
worn this unpleasant situation had Father Van de Velde's authorisation to leave 
Washington and settle on the north side of the river, where he proposed to build, 
The plan was never carried out. 


forwarded by Father Van de Velde to the Leopoldine Association, 

From Washington the Right Reverend Bishop in company with Father 
Efsvogel proceeded to the congregations of Dutzo[w] and Marthasville, a 
town in Warren County, to give confirmation. In these places there are 
merely two little churches of wood; in the first, 32 persons were confirmed, 
in the second, which is dedicated to St. Ignatius, 30. I had promised to join 
the bishop again in Washington in order to be present at the solemn consecra- 
tion of the newly built brick church, which was to take place the second 
Sunday of November. I accordingly left St. Louis the 3rd of the month and 
arrived the next day in Washington, where the Right Rev. Bishop was 
together with Father Getting, whom I had sent from St. Charles to help 
Father Eisvogel. On the following day almost the entire congregation 
gathered in the place where the missionary resides and which is more than a 
mile from Washington. There the Right Reverend Bishop and 2 Fathers 
were busily employed and there a great number of the faithful received the 
Holy Sacrament in the old church, which is regrettably near to collapse 
as it is made merely of big logs piled one atop the other, which are now 
rotten and readily admit wind, rain and snow. At 10 o'clock began the 
procession, the weather being very favorable. It moved towards the city 
while the Miserere, the Litany of the Saints and the Veni Creator were sung 
and this in German, the men and women forming two separate choirs. 
Having arrived at the church door the Right Reverend Bishop vested himself 
in his pontificals and solemnly dedicated the church in honor of St. Francis 
Borgia. Great crowds of people were in attendance, many of whom had come 
from a distance of 15 to 20 miles. The high Mass was sung by myself while 
Father dotting preached in German, taking for his subject the [liturgical] 
feast of the dedication of a church. The following day we celebrated also in 
the same church, which is nearly finished, and, thanks be to God, has no 
debts. It has a wooden roof, is painted, measures 55 by 35 feet and has a 
stone floor. Before leaving the place I made a contract for the construction of 
a communion-rail and a little tower, which is to rise above the roof, and I 
promised in the contingency that the present dwelling of the missionary be 
too far from the new church (a thing that renders the discharge of minis- 
terial duties extremely difficult, especially in winter), to contribute $150 to 
the building of a new pastor's house close by. 25a 

The number of stations and mission-churches served from the Wash- 
ington residence went on increasing. The Church of St. John the Baptist, 
a fine building for its day but later supplanted by an edifice of brick, 
was erected in 1844-1845 at the present Gildehouse, eight miles distant 
from Washington. At a settlement originally called Pevelingsville, 
from the name of the principal landowner of the locality, but later 
known as Neier, the Church of St. Joseph was built about 1848. The 

afta titrkhtt, 2 1 ; 37-40 ( 1 848-1 849) . 


church property, sixteen acres in extent, was the joint gift of Peveling 
and another settler of the locality. St. Joseph's parish received large 
accessions of immigrants from Switzerland, Bavaria and Hanover, as 
many as forty families coming to it from abroad.- Loutre Island 
and Hermann, both in Gasconade County, some miles up the Missouri 
River from Washington, were attended from the latter place until 1848, 
when the deeds for both churches were transferred to the Archbishop 
and diocesan priests placed in charge. The next year, however, the 
Jesuit pastors were called on again to visit Hermann and Loutre Island, 
where grave difficulties prevailed. At Hermann creditors wished to sell 
the church property and at the Island the priest recently in charge, 
but now suspended, attempted to organize a schismatic congregation. 
Both scandals were happily averted.- 7 The question of a third parish 
church on the north side of the Missouri in Warren County gave rise 
to a difference of opinion. There were two groups of settlers to be 
satisfied as to the location of the church, and as neither would yield to 
the other, the matter was referred for adjustment to the Archbishop, 
who decreed that each party should have its own church. Only one 
church seems to have been built, that of the Immaculate Conception, 

26 The property was conveyed to the representatives of the Church, April 29, 
1852, by Henry Peveling and Elizabeth, his wife, and Henry Picrnick and 
Gertrude, his wife, for a consideration of five dollars to be held in trust for "the 
Roman Catholic Congregation near the Borbouse from about four to ten miles 
above Union, Franklin County, Missouri." "At this time also [1846-1848] was 
built the Church of St. Joseph on 40 acres donated by a certain Peveling, whence 
they called the place Pevelingsville. But as he was unwilling to transfer the owner- 
ship of the property either to the Bishop or to the Superior of the Order accord- 
ing to the law recently enacted in the Council, it was not possible to exercise the 
sacred ministry therein for any length of time. But in 1848 he submitted. A 
certain Schmid, a Bavarian, living there, wished to dispose of his estate according 
to the principle of majority [primogeniture], but could not do so owing to the* 
laws of the country; so his sons afterwards divided the property between them 
and are now good farmers and also excellent members of the parish there, numer- 
ous families of which had come from Switzerland, Bavaria, and Hanover, almost 
40 all told." Hist. Rtsid. Wash. (A). 

27 A ms. account in Latin of the parish of St. George at Hermann for the 
period 1840-1870 compiled by Father William Hensen is in the Archdioeeaan 
Archives, St. Louis. The first Catholic settlers came about 1840. Many among 
the early Catholics of Hermann appear to have had a slender hold on their faith, 
maintaining, for instance, that one religion was as good as another and wanting 
even to elect their pastors. For a curious instance of the laxity in religious matters 
indulged in by some among the pioneer German Catholic settlers of Missouri cf, 
Faust, of. cb. 9 i:445- Father Hcnscn says of the ministry of the Washington 
Jesuits at Hermann: "So far spiritual comfort was afforded them [the Catholics 
of Hermann] by the Jesuit Fathers of Washington, who aflame with divine love 
and taken up with the salvation of souls spared no labor to spread the Kingdom of 
Christ such among others were Fathers Eisvogels, Elias, Busschots and Seinl." 


six miles below Dutzow and one and a half miles from Augusta in St. 
Charles County. Its erection in 1851 followed a controversy of three 
years 5 even in the eighties many traces of the trouble remained. In 
1853 a frame church under the patronage of the Holy Family was built 
at Port Hudson about fifteen miles southwest of Washington while the 
year 1856 brought with it the erection of a frame church named for 
St. Gertrude at Krakow, five miles south of Washington. 28 

All these years the Washington parish itself was steadily growing. 
Father Eysvogels, on whom devolved all teaching duties in the parish 
school, was absent so frequently on his missionary trips that a teacher 
was engaged in the spring of 1850 to conduct the school. Two years 
later, in 1852, a new school-house of brick was erected, the old one 
of frame being converted into a residence for the teacher. The building 
of the Missouri Pacific Railroad in 1853 f rom St. Louis to Jefferson 
City added to the labors of the Washington pastors. The spiritual 
care of the Irish laborers along twenty-six miles of track in Franklin 
County fell to Father Eysvogels. The parish chronicle notes that they 
contributed liberally for an organ installed in the Washington church 
in 1854. Father Henry Van Mierlo, who came in 1849 fro** 1 the Miami 
Mission to assist Eysvogels, attended most of the outlying stations, 
while Father Martin Seisl, who arrived in Washington in 1853 from 
St. Joseph's parish in St. Louis, attended to the town congregation. 

Father Eysvogels's health having become impaired as a result of his 
wearing ministry on behalf of the laborers employed in the construction 
of the railroad, he was transferred in 1854 to the Westphalia residence 
where he died July 7, 1857. Hi-health likewise led to the removal of 
Father Van Mierlo, who was replaced at Washington in 1854 by Father 
Michael Haering. For seven years Father Haering remained attached 
to the residence until in 1861 he was relieved by Father Charles Benys 
of the province of Poland (Galicia), who had been serving as an 
assistant at St. Joseph's in St. Louis since his arrival in the United 
States about a year before. His acquaintance with Polish and Bohemian 
was the circumstance that chiefly induced Father Seisl to secure his 
services for Franklin County. 

From his first arrival at Washington in 1853 Father Martin Seisl 
had been superior of the residence, an office he discharged with steady 
efficiency and zeal for seventeen years. He was a native of the Austrian 
Tyrol, entered the Society of Jesus in the Austro-Hungarian Province, 
and was forty when he began his strenuous ministry in Franklin County 
and beyond. He came to Washington from St. Joseph's in St. Louis 
where for six years he had exercised the ministry with notable result. 

28 The property (one acre) on which St. Gertrude's church, Krakow, is built, 
waa acquired August 18, 1856, from W. Wilking and wife. 


In Washington and the dependent parishes he was to see much accom- 
plished for the expansion of the Church. By the beginning of 1855 six 
churches had been built by the Washington Jesuits since their arrival in 
Franklin County and were now being served by them. The six parishes, 
three north and three south of the Missouri, numbered one hundred 
and fifty families, or between six hundred and seven hundred souls. 
Five schools, averaging twenty pupils each, with a sixth about to be 
begun, had been erected. In 1864 a school was opened at Dutzow with 
a laywoman from Gildehouse in charge. The following year schools 
were set on foot at Port Hudson and Newport, the total number now 
reaching nine. 

Nothing is more significant in the pioneer history of these German- 
language congregations in the interior of Missouri than the efforts made 
and the sacrifices incurred by them to provide elementary schools. 
Though the out-of-town Washington group had failed in 1846 to erect 
a church of their own, they succeeded in building in that year a school- 
house about five miles from the town, in which Mass was said for them 
once a month. At Gildehouse in 1855 a school was built, an excellent 
widow, competent for the task, teaching the few children in attendance. 
That same year a school which had been opened at Pevelingsvillc was 
closed, the parishioners having no means to support the teacher j where- 
upon a young man was taken as a guest into the residence at Washington 
and instructed by the fathers with a view to qualifying him to take in 
charge the school in question, though from what source a salary was to 
be provided for him is not disclosed by the chronicler. Unpleasant 
incidents are told in connection with these rural school-masters. This 
one turned out to be a corrupter of morals and must be dismissed. 
Another was addicted to drink and meddled with parish affairs, not to 
say with the private concerns of the pastors. In his differences with 
Father Seisl the parish took sides, one group supporting the teacher, 
another, the pastor, who to rid himself of the vexatious pedagogue 
was constrained to pay him the hundred and fifty dollars which he 
demanded on the "basis of his unexpired three-year contract. To secure 
competent and reliable teachers was always a vexing problem. Some- 
times the experiment was made of bringing them over from Kurope. 
In 1867 two brothers, Andress by name, came from Germany on invita- 
tion, one to teach in Washington, the other in Krakow. The reason why 
Father Seisl opposed for a while the building of a new church at Wash- 
ington, which the parishioners were eager to take in hand, was his 
desire first to bring the sisters' house to completion so that they might 
have needed facilities to train young girls as teachers in the rural schools, 

The corner-stone of the sisters' residence was kid July 30, 1850. 
Then, on November 3 of the same year, came three School Sisters of 



Parishes in Franklin and adjoining counties served from the Jesuit residence of St. 
Francis Borgia, Washington, Mo.> 1838-1894. Compiled by G. J. Garraghan; 
drawn by J. V, Jacobscn. 


Notre Dame with their superior, the nuns residing in the old church 
until the convent was ready for occupancy. A year later two additional 
sisters had arrived. On May i, 1860, the convent was solemnly blessed, 
Father Smarius, noted missionary-preacher, delivering an English ser- 
mon on the occasion. The building cost only thirty-three hundred 
dollars, of which sum twenty-one hundred were contributed by the con- 
gregation, eight hundred by Catholics of other parishes and non- 
Catholics, and the rest by the pastor. Five years later, in 1865, a wing 
was added to the convent, the cost of which was covered largely by a 
legacy left for this specific purpose by Michael Lynch of Millers Land- 
ing. Almost immediately on arriving in Washington the sisters insti- 
tuted a unit of the Society of the Holy Child for the saving of pagan 
children in foreign lands, and succeeded in collecting a hundred dollars 
on its behalf, a rather noteworthy result in view of the straitened cir- 
cumstances of most of the Washington parishioners. The circumstance 
is significant as showing how alive the zealous sisters were to the mis- 
sionary idea at this early day, when the United States was still depen- 
dent in a measure for the maintenance of the Faith among the people 
on pecuniary aid vouchsafed by eleemosynary societies in the Old 

In 1856 the parishes on the north side of the Missouri were resigned 
into the hands of the Archbishop of St. Louis in accordance with Father 
Murphy's set policy of relieving his men of their excessive burden of 
parochial obligations. This measure made it possible to proceed to the 
erection of St. Gertrude's Church at Krakow. The first St. Gertrude's 
Church was dedicated November 23, 1856, by Very Reverend Joseph 
Mclcher, vicar-general for the German-speaking parishes of the St. 
Louis archdiocese. Either on this or a subsequent occasion he made 
declaration that St. Gertrude's would not thereafter be taken from the 
Jesuits as long as they wished to retain it. The erection of a church at 
Krakow and the assurance given the congregation there that Mass 
would be said for them eighteen Sundays' in the year were taken amiss 
by the Catholics of St. John's at Gildehouse, who, it would appear, 
saw in these measures some prejudice or other to the ministerial service 
to which they deemed themselves entitled. They therefore preferred 
in 1857 a petition to Father Melcher for a priest of their own, in which 
petition the vicar-general acquiesced. The parish of St. John was ac- 
cordingly ceded by the Jesuits to the archdiocese, but the secular clergy- 
man assigned to it arrived on the ground only in 1858. Meantime, 
pending his arrival, St. John's continued to be visited once a month 
from Washington* Later, in 1867, on the departure from St. John's of 
the diocesan priest, Father Vattmann, and up to the arrival seven months 
later of his successor, the parish was attended by Father de Haza 


Radlitz of Washington. As to the parishes on the north side of the 
river, Father Christian Wapelhorst, charged with them after their 
cession to the Archbishop, had to relinquish them in 1857 on account of 
ill-health with the result that care of these stations devolved again upon 
the Washington residence. Another diocesan priest, Father Bernard 
Seeling, was in charge for a whiJe. But it was only in 1865, n the 
arrival of Father William Faerber, who had recently come from Ger- 
many, that the parishes north of the Missouri began to be provided for 
permanently by the Archbishop of St. Louis. 29 

To serve the Washington parish and the others affiliated thereto 
only two priests were in attendance at the beginning of 1862, Fathers 
Martin Seisl and Charles Benys. In April of that year Father Sopranis, 
the Visitor, referred to the General, Peter Beckx, a petition of the vice- 
provincial for a third father, to be stationed at Washington, one con- 
versant not only with German but also with Polish and Bohemian, as 
large groups of immigrants speaking these latter languages had to be 
cared for. Accordingly, there arrived at. Washington in November, 
1862, from the province of Poland (Galicia) Father Ignatius Peuckert, 
described by Father Seisl as "very pious, humble, obedient, and warmly 
devoted to the salvation of souls and the promotion of God's glory." 
Writing in February, 1862, to the General, Father Benys portrays the 
existing situation at St. Gertrude's or Krakow, of which he had charge, 
The congregation, consisting of fifty-four families, seventeen of them 
Polish, should have Mass every Sunday, so he thought. If only Wash- 
ington and St. Gertrude's had to be attended to, two priests would 
suffice $ but services had also to be held at St. Joseph's and Port Hudson, 
each fifteen miles distant from Krakow;, as also in the new Polish parish 
thirty-five miles away on the Gasconade and at other stations for groups 
of German, Bohemian or Irish settlers. "Alas, so many souls, so many 
communities, so many churches! Here we famish while in Europe there 
is superabundant bread. Here we have but two loaves which must per- 
force be distributed, and unless your Paternity increase the number of 
loaves, unhappy souls will perish of spiritual hunger and weakness. 
Alas! how many have already perished in these parts for lack of minis- 
terial aid. (I write thus because I am constrained so to do not only by 
the common necessities of the faithful, but by personal necessities as 
well. Some days I scarcely have time to say my breviary)." 80 

Of the sincerity of the zeal of Father Benys there could have been 
no question, but unfortunately it was not a zeal "according to knowl- 
edge." A certain arrangement which he wished to make in regard to the 
church property at Krakow led to brusque opposition on the part of 

29 Catholic Directory, 1861. 

80 Benys ad Beckx, February 17, 1862. (AA), 


many of the parishioners. Moreover, certain assurances of ministerial 
attention which he gave to the congregation could not have been 
realized, so Father Seisl averred, without the disruption of the Wash- 
ington residence. Probably he had promised them Mass every Sunday, 
which arrangement he favored and was anxious to bring about. What- 
ever his pledges, they were not confirmed by Father Murphy, who 
journeyed to Washington to inquire into the unpleasant situation that 
had developed at St. Gertrude's in consequence of Father Benys's 
impetuous zeal. On January 13, 1863, the latter left Washington for the 
East. "I blame nobody," he wrote to Father Beckx, "least of all the 
local superior [Father Seisl], certainly a holy man, but take all the 
blame on myself." 31 As a melancholy postscript to the career of Father 
Benys it may be recorded that shortly after his return to Europe he 
apostatized from the Faith in Vienna, becoming a Unitarian minister. 
Whether or not he ever returned to the Church, the Faith of which he 
had one time worked with strenuous zeal to maintain among the 
Catholics of Franklin County, Missouri, cannot be said here in default 
of information. 

On the same day that Father Benys bade farewell to Washington, 
Father Seisl forwarded to the General an urgent petition that some one 
be sent from Europe to replace his erstwhile assistant. With only two, 
himself and Father Peuckert, to serve the numerous parishes that looked 
to Washington for ministerial aid, the congregations across the river 
had temporarily to be abandoned. A third priest on the staff would 
make it possible to give each of these congregations Mass at least once 
a month. Meantime, as a makeshift until a more satisfactory arrange- 
ment could be effected, Father Weber of St. Joseph's in St. Louis was 
to be asked to come out to Washington once a month, Father Murphy 
engaging to take his place on these occasions at St. Joseph's. At the same 
time the latter enjoined on Father Seisl to appeal personally to the 
Father General for help. "Very Reverend Father General sees how dis- 
tressing our situation is on every side. Therefore do I beseech him sup- 
pliantly to have pity on us and our seven congregations and send a third 
Father to our aid. In the seventh congregation, made up of Irish [set- 
tlers], I have just now built a pretty and substantial church and am 
hoping for a third Father to be here so I can visit the congregation once 
a month." Moreover, the forty Polish and ten Bohemian families, for- 
merly looked after by Benys, "are now left to themselves. Their faith is 
perishing, they will become as the Americans [i.e., Protestants] unless 
relief be sent to them. . . . May your Paternity pardon my impor- 
tunity $ it has never been my way to be troublesome to my superiors." 

81 Benys ad Beckx, December 17, 1862. (AA). 


Father Seisl concludes his appeal to the General by requesting that 
Father Francis X. Schulak, of the province of Galicia, who had lately 
arrived in the country, be assigned to Washington. 32 It was not until 
almost two years later, October 31, 1864, that a Polish-speaking assistant 
arrived at Washington in the person of another member of the province 
of Galicia, Father Alexander Mathauschek. In the interval, the Belgian 
father, Ignatius Maes, who knew no Polish and but little German, 
had been stationed at Washington since February 14, 1863. With three 
fathers at the residence, the outlying parishes could be provided for 
reasonably well* In 1867 Krakow was having Mass every Sunday, 
Neier every second Sunday and Millers Landing and Port Hudson one 
Sunday in the month. The more distant stations were visited of course 
at less frequent intervals. At Durbin in Gasconade County in February, 
1864, there were seventeen baptisms of children and adults. Visits 
to the remote stations sometimes revealed unexpected conditions as 
when Seisl on the occasion of a trip to Durbin in the October of 1864 
met in the vicinity of Mount Sterling a number of Catholic families 
who had not seen a priest for six or eight years. 

The project, long deferred, of a new church at Washington to re- 
place the old one built by Father Eysvogels in 1846 and for years 
back quite inadequate to the needs of the congregation, was at length 
to be taken in hand. At a meeting of the parishioners, St. Stephen's 
day, December 26, 1865, the decision was made to proceed to build. 
But it was not until April, 1867, that building operations actually be- 
gan. The carpentering was under the supervision of Brother Francis 
Heilers, who some years before had lent his skilful services to the 
erection of one of the outstanding houses of worship in the United 
States, the Jesuit Church of the Holy Family in Chicago. By the fall of 
the same year construction was so far advanced as to allow the structure, 
which was of brick, to be roofed in. Matthew Hastings, a painter of 
some contemporary note, undertook the interior decoration of the 
church. Lumber purchased in St. Louis for the pews perished in a fire, 
a loss which was made good by a collection of three hundred and 
seventy-two dollars generously offered by St. Joseph's congregation 
of St. Louis. Out-of-town collections had been previously made on be- 
half of the new edifice, netting over four hundred dollars at Gildehouse 
and over five hundred dollars at Krakow, The structure, the third 
Church of St. Francis Borgia at Washington or its vicinity, was dedicated 
on Easter Monday, 1868, by the Jesuit provincial, Father Coosemans. 
Sermons were preached, in German by Father Francis Braun and in 
English by Father Frederick Garesche. In the afternoon the Blessed 

82 Seisl ad Beckx, January 13, 1863. (AA). 


Sacrament was removed in solemn procession from the old to the new 
church. The following day, Easter Tuesday, the new St. Joseph's 
Church at Neier was also blessed by Father Coosemans. At both places, 
Washington and Neier, the old church was immediately converted into 
a school. The new church at Washington represented an outlay of 
$34,837 of which $21,716 had been collected and $13,121 borrowed. 
There still remained some five hundred dollars to be paid on the build- 
ing so that the total cost of construction amounted to nearly forty thou- 
sand dollars. The tower was erected only later on. 

The organization of new parishes in Franklin County by the Jesuit 
priests of the Washington residence continued down to the period when 
they relinquished altogether their ministry in that part of Missouri. 
Millers Landing, subsequently New Haven, on the Missouri twelve 
miles above Washington, saw a Catholic church begun in 1862 and 
blessed for divine service on Easter Monday of the following year. 
A school was opened in 1868 at Newport, afterwards Dundee, six miles 
upstream from Washington. Parishes organized in subsequent years 
included St. Ann's at Clover Bottom, St. Bridget's at Pacific, Martyrs 
of Japan at Japan, where a log church was built by Father Seisl, St. 
Anthony's at Sullivan, and the Immaculate Conception at Pacific, all 
within the limits of Franklin County. Moreover, stations were estab- 
lished at Durbin and Owensville, both in Gasconade County, and at 
Brazil Settlement and other points in Franklin County. 

The Jesuit parishes attended from Washington were relinquished 
one after another into the hands of the diocesan clergy. Finally, with 
the transfer of the Washington residence in 1894 to the Franciscan 
fathers, the ministry of the Society of Jesus in Franklin County in 
Missouri, inaugurated in 1834 by the visit of Father Felix Verreydt 
to the recently arrived German immigrants, came definitely to an end. 
For the historian of the Catholic Church in the United States it is a 
chapter of interest, not to say, of importance, illustrating as it does the 
efforts made and the sacrifices undergone in the period of immigration 
to save and, as far as might be, to spread the Faith in the rural districts 
of the country.* 


In the early forties the German Catholics of St. Louis numbered 
seven thousand of the city's total population of thirty thousand. 
The first house of worship reserved exclusively for their use was the 
building o brick on the west side of Second Street between Market and 

* For additional data on the Franklin County parishes see infra, Chap. XLII, 



Walnut which had housed Bishop Du Bourg's St. Louis College up to 
the passing of that institution in 1827. On May 6, 1832, Father Ver- 
haegen blessed the structure, to be known as St. Mary's Chapel, as a 
meeting place for the German Catholics of the city/ Fire having de- 
stroyed it in 1835, the worshippers were thereupon permitted to use 
the cathedral for an hour or two on Sunday mornings. As a convenience 
for such of their number as lived in what was known as the north end 
of the city, services also began to be held in the St. Louis University 
chapel named for St. Aloysius and situated on the north side of Wash- 
ington Avenue between Ninth and Tenth Streets. What the Jesuits were 
now attempting to do on behalf of the German members of the Catholic 
flock of St. Louis is sketched by Father Van de Velde, the Missouri 
vice-provincial, in a letter to the Archbishop of Vienna, who was presi- 
dent of the Leopoldine Foundation (Stijtung) of Vienna, an organiza- 
tion modeled on the lines of the French Association of the Propagation 
of the Faith and having for its specific purpose the financing of German 
Catholic missions and parishes in foreign lands: 

The worthy Bishop of our diocese, Dr. Rosati, in view of the fact that a 
great number of Germans in St. Louis were almost entirely deprived of the 
consolations of religion, as there was no preacher to instruct them in their 
own language, finally made the necessary arrangements to provide them 
with a German missionary who was to 'say Mass and preach for them on 
Sundays and holydays. Abbe Lutz was the first one assigned to the duty; but 
on his leaving for Europe in company with the Bishop, Abbe Fischer was 
appointed in his place. About the same time a similar measure for the welfare 
of the German faithful was taken by the Society [of Jesus] . A special service 
for them was introduced in the University Chapel and was very well attended. 
Fathers Aelen and Ferdinand Helias were successively commissioned to take 
care of the Germans. But on the appointment of Father Aelen to the Potn- 
watohii Indian Mission of Sugar Creek and of Father Helias to the colony of 
Westphalians who had recently settled in the vicinity of Jefferson City, they 
were replaced by Fathers J. B. Emig and Verheyden, who filled this post up 
to the fall of last year, when Father Cotting was appointed to devote himself 
exclusively to the spiritual needs of the Germans, As Abbe Fischer's duties 
multiplied to such an extent that his health suffered as a result, Father Cotting 
had to substitute for him in the German sermon at the Cathedral. Last Lent 
he preached three or four times a week in the Cathedral without at the same 
time interrupting his ministry in the University Chapel. Moreover, in order 
to make it easier for the [German-speaking] faithful to hear the word of 
God, an arrangement was made whereby the sermon [in German] is de- 
livered in these two churches at different times, namely, at 9 A. M. in the 
Cathedral and at 1 1 in the University Chapel, It is certainly an edifying 

38 SLCHR, 4: 7. 


sight to see with what zeal these simple and pious people besiege our con- 
fessionals and come to services in our church, 34 

The first Jesuit to minister for any length of time to the spiritual 
needs of the German Catholics of St. Louis was the Belgian father, 
Ferdinand Helias. Arriving by steamer in St. Louis on Saturday, 
August 22, 1835, he had scarcely stepped ashore when he had the unex- 
pected pleasure of meeting a companion of his school-days, Father 
Joseph Lutz, at that time the only native German priest in the diocese 
of St. Louis. 35 Father Lutz insisted on presenting his friend at once 
to Bishop Rosati at the cathedral rectory. Here the Jesuit remained as 
a guest of the Bishop until the following Monday morning, dividing 
his time between ministerial functions in the cathedral and conversation 
with his host on the needs of the German Catholics of the city, in 
whose behalf the prelate then and there sought to engage the father's 

At St. Louis University, which he reached on the morning of Au- 
gust 24, Father Helias was assigned to various duties, including those 
of minister of the house, professor of Italian and quasi-pastor of the 
German Catholics then frequenting the University (St. Aloysius) 
Chapel. Here, for a period of three years, Father Helias conducted 
Sunday services and administered the sacraments of the Church on their 
behalf. After his departure from St. Louis in 1838 to take up his life- 
work among the German Catholics of central Missouri the care of the 
German congregation of North St. Louis, then rapidly increasing in 
numbers, fell to various fathers of St. Louis University. From 1841 to 
1 845 Father James Cotting, a native of Fribourg in Switzerland, was in 
charge. In a letter of December 30, 1842, he drew an engaging picture 
of the piety of his flock: 

Having now an eagerness and a holy desire to hear the word of God and 
share in their Church's treasure of graces, they come in crowds to our little 
college chapel to partake of spiritual remedies for the salvation of their souls. 
But these pious purposes of theirs meet with two great hindrances: [i] the 
narrow dimensions of our chapel, which cannot even hold the grown-up part 
of the faithful living in our vicinity, and (2) the circumstance that I have not 
yet received from the Right Reverend Bishop of the diocese all the authority 
necessary to provide for the needs and interests of the German congregation 
in accordance with its wishes. Hence it happens (a thing we cannot too much 
deplore) that very many of the German faithful, as a result of the over- 
crowding of our college chapel of St. Aloysius, cannot find room and in spite 
of the fact that on their way to church they have been exposed to every 

16:6 (1843). 
Lebrocquy, Vie du P. HeJias rfHudAeghevi, p. 160. 


inclemency of the weather, whether rain, storm or burning heat of the sun, 
they have to retrace their steps disconsolately to their distant homes without 
satisfying their burning thirst for the word of eternal life in the reception of the 
divine means of salvation. In this pressing need I know of no other relief than 
to build our Germans a church of their own. This the Right Rev. Bishop of 
the diocese in cooperation with the Fathers of our Society has already piously 
decided to do. 36 

For the necessary financial aid to enable them to provide for the 
German-speaking parishes committed to their care, the Jesuits, having 
no other source on which to draw, turned to the Leopoldine Foundation 
of Vienna. Help from this quarter was generously given. In 1841 an 
appropriation of sixteen hundred dollars was made to the Jesuits of 
North America. In April, 1843, a subsidy of two thousand dollars was 
granted the Jesuits of the St. Louis diocese, followed by a subsidy to 
them in May, 1844, of sixteen hundred dollars. Of the two thousand 
dollars that thus came into the hands of Father Van de Velde in 1843, 
four hundred went to Father Helias for his new church at Haarville, 
four hundred to Father Busschots for the church he was building at 
Washington, and two hundred to the purchase of a church-site in Dar- 
denne. The remaining thousand dollars Van de Velde proposed to put 
into a new church for the Catholics of North St. Louis as he informed 
the Archbishop of Vienna, March 20, 1844: 

The remaining five thousand francs are to serve for the purchase of u 
piece of property in a suitable location in St. Louis and the erection thereon 
of a brick church for the numerous Germans who, up to now, have been 
frequenting the little chapel of our University but have scarcely found room 

86 Berichte, 16: 13 (1843). When in 1844 tnc University suffered a decline in 
consequence of a falling off in student registration, it was proposed to start a law 
department and to appropriate the so-called St. Aloysius Chapel for this purpose. 
This proposal met with protest from Father Getting, in consequence of which 
Father Carrell, rector of the University, made the following explanation to the 
General: "The Hall used on Sunday by the Germans was not built for a chapel 
it has two stories, the upper story is divided into four rooms one used for the 
.Cabinet another for the class of Physics a $rd for the debating society, etc. 
The lower story, one long room fifteen feet high, has always been used for 
our theatrical exhibitions. At present it is used on Sundays and festivals by the 
Germans as a chapel. They have free use of it for Mass, confessions, instructions 
and on any extra occasion, if needed. When they do not use it, we make use of it 
for college purposes. This arrangement . . . was approved by the Bishop who 
considers the use of the Hall for religious purposes as merely temporary. , . . The 
Germans are well attended to they have a priest exclusively devoted to them-- 
every Sunday morning two Masses are said for them they have the use of our 
Hall on Sundays and holidays, though the Blessed Sacrament is not kept in a 
room which is used for so many and such different purposes/' Carrell to Roothaan, 
April 22, 1844. (AA). 


therein for a third of their number. Their pastor is Father Getting. A happy 
occurrence has helped along our plan. A rich and charitable lady of the city 
to whom I appealed, has made me a present of a piece of ground for the 
good work and I have decided to start at once, with the five thousand francs, 
the building of the church so sorely needed by the Germans. We have also 
made an appeal to them for contributions; but as they are poor for the most 
part, the subscriptions in cash were very meager and netted scarcely five 
hundred francs. On the other hand, they promised their services for gra- 
tuitous labor, levelling the ground, excavating, laying the foundations, etc. 
Now that we put hand to the work the 4th of the current month, they have 
eagerly performed their voluntary labor and faithfully complied with the 
engagements made. According to plans the church will be 103 feet long and 
60 feet wide and will cost at least from sixty thousand to seventy thousand 
francs to finish. But my intention is to go on with the building only according 
to the measure of means now at my command or to be expected in the future. 
Yet it is to be feared that the work, though already taken in hand, and 
though its completion is so imperatively demanded by the needs of the 
German faithful, may be brought to a standstill were I to fail in my hopes of 
further support. I venture, therefore, to beg for this object from the Leo- 
poldine Foundation. I am of the opinion that forty to fifty thousand francs 
will suffice to bring the body of the church so far to completion that it can 
serve for use. The addition of the fagade and tower can be postponed to 
more propitious times. I would also plan to put up a free school for the 
German children of both sexes and a small pastor's residence for Father 
dotting. 87 

The property, a hundred feet in length, donated to Father Van de 
Velde as a site for the church he was about to build lay at the northeast 
corner of Eleventh and Biddle Streets, in what was known as the Biddle 
Addition. This was a forty-arpent tract originally owned by Frangois 
Dunegant, founder of Florissant, who in 1805 disposed of it with an- 
other St. Louis tract of similar dimensions to John Mullanphy for one 
hundred and sixty dollars. 38 It was a daughter of John Mullanphy, 
Mrs. Ann Biddle, who now made a gift of the hundred feet in question. 
She was the widow of Major Thomas Biddle, whose tragic death in a 
duel fought with Colonel Pettis on Bloody Island was a long remem- 
bered incident of early St. Louis history. From the Missouri shore, John 
Mullanphy, mounted on his favorite roan horse, watched the gruesome 
encounter in which his son-in-law and the other principal fell victims to 
the fierce passions that ruled the politics of the day. 39 The corner-stone 
of the first St. Joseph's Church, built on the property donated by Mrs. 
Biddle, was blessed on April 14, 1844, by Bishop Kenrick, assisted by 

87 Berichte, 17:38 (1844). 

88 Garraghan, St. Ferdinand de Florissant, p. 46, note 25. 
8 * J. F, Darby, Personal Recollections (St. Louis, 1880), 


Father Van de Velde. The occasion was a gala one for the Catholics of 
St. Louis. There was a procession of ecclesiastics, lay societies and 
parochial school-children from St. Francis Xavier's at Ninth Street and 
Christy Avenue to the site of the new church. A sermon was preached 
in German by Father Getting, pa.stor of the congregation, whose hopes 
for a house of worship of their own were now to be realized. 

The edifice, one hundred and seven by sixty feet in dimensions, 
faced west, its length being along the Biddle Street side of the prop- 
erty. 40 Built after plans furnished by an architect, George Purvis, it 
was Ionic in design, with a portico supported by four fluted columns and 
with an octagonal turret and a spire. Untoward circumstances, among 
them the throwing down of the north wall by a storm, delayed the work 
of construction. Moreover, money became scarce as building operations 
proceeded, for the parishioners, engaged most of them in the struggle 
for a livelihood, had scant means to draw upon. They organized, how- 
ever, a building association (Bauverein), a monthly assessment of 
twenty-five cents for the men and fifteen cents for the women being 
levied on the members. As a result of some unreasonable demands 
made by certain members of the Bawuerein it was found necessary by the 
pastors to reorganize the society and give it a new constitution. As a 
consequence of this step about one-half of the members of the Bfr-uwrein 
withdrew from that association and formed a new society, the Roman 
Catholic Unterstutzungsverein. Finally, on the first Sunday of August, 
1846, the church was solemnly dedicated to divine service by Father 
Van de Velde, who penned an account of the event for the Archbishop 
of Vienna: 

All the members of the congregation, i.e. of the parish assigned to this 
church, assembled on Washington Street [Avenue], which runs in front of 
our college, and there formed a procession, which was headed by the children 
of both sexes with the banner of St. Aloysius; after the children came the 
women; then the men, two by two; next, a band of music which had offered 
its services for the occasion; at the end came the choir-hoys and clergy, i.e. 
our scholastics in rochets and the priests in dalmatics and copes. The proces- 
sion wound through three or four streets so as to come up in front of the 
church. The people were ranged around the church while the solemn cere- 
monies of -consecration were being performed by myself as Provincial of the 
Society of Jesus. After the ceremonies were over solemn High Mass wan 
celebrated. Father Joseph Patschowski preached in German before t\ large 
gathering. The solemn services having ended, the procession formed again 
to conduct the clergy back to the college. Since that time Mass has been said 

40 Most of the details which follow are from a Latin ms. narrative, Brwis 
historia ecclesiae et congregation}* ad St. Jos&fhi> St. Lows, Mo. t ab anno 
1853, written apparently by Father SeisL (A). 


daily and other services have been held in the church. Fathers Hofbauer and 
Patschowski of the Austrian Province have been sent here to take charge of 
this German parish and rejoice in the love and confidence of the faithful. A 
great part of the Catholics receive the holy sacrament pretty regularly, many 
of them once a month, others more frequently or at any rate rather often. 41 

Together with this account of the dedication ceremonies, Father 
Van de Velde conveyed to his Austrian benefactors his cordial apprecia- 
tion of the substantial aid they had rendered him in the building of the 
church. This was not by any means completely finished. The ceiling, a 
part of the choir, and the presbytery were still to be added. The steeple 
rose only up to the roof and organ and bells were yet to be purchased. 
Moreover, the entire building had to be plastered and painted. The 
cost of the construction so far had been in excess of twelve thousand 
dollars, or more than thirty thousand Austrian gulden. To finish the 
church would require from twelve thousand to fifteen thousand gulden. 
Of the thirty thousand gulden already spent, ten thousand had come 
from the Leopoldine Foundation, five thousand had been contributed 
by the German and other Catholics of the city, while the remainder had 
been either borrowed at five and six per cent or was an interest-bearing 
debt due to the contractors, who, observed Father Van de Velde, "being 
good Catholics, do not cause me any embarrassment if their bill is not 
paid on time." The particulars recorded are not without significance as 
indicating the difficulties that almost everywhere beset the building of 
Catholic churches in the United States in the period of immigration. 

On February 2, 1846, Fathers John Nepomucene Hofbauer, an 
Austrian, and Joseph Patschowski (or Patschowsky ) , a Silesian, both 
of the Jesuit province of Austria, had arrived in St. Louis. The former 
was at once named pastor of St. Joseph's, the latter being later assigned 
to him as assistant. Shortly after his arrival Father Hofbauer wrote to 

Here in St. Louis I am so occupied with pastoral duties that I have to steal 
away an hour to write these lines. What I never wanted to be in my own 
archdiocese and to escape which was one of my reasons for entering the 
Society of Jesus, this I now have to be, namely a parish priest. God gives me 
strength and health. So far I have to do everything myself. On Sundays when 
I must preach three times I haven't a quarter of an hour to myself. A 
numerous, unsettled and in many respects divided parochial congregation (for 
the various districts of Germany do not send the best of their people over to 
us) surely gives much to do to a lone and feeble worker. May God strengthen 
me and preserve my health. I join my prayers to those of my very Reverend 
Father Provincial for help and support. The parish is very poor and we stand 

21 : 35 (1848-184,9). The letter is dated November 29, 1846. 


so much in need of a chalice, a ciborium, some mass-vestments, and other 
things. 42 

Father Hofbauer retained the charge of pastor until his return to 
Europe in iSji. 43 Father Patschowski was replaced as assistant, August 
30, 1847, by Father Martin Seisl, but returned in 1851 as head pastor 
of St. Joseph's in succession to Hofbauer. Patschowski held this charge 
until his death in 1859, when after a short interval he was succeeded by 
Father Joseph Weber, under whom the second or present St. Joseph's 
Church was built. 

At a date prior even to the opening of the first St. Joseph's Church 
for divine service the organization of parochial schools had been taken 
in hand. Early in 1846 Brother Peter Karleskind, S. J., was conducting 
a German school for boys in the basement of St. Francis Xavier's 
Church. On August 17 of the same year a school for girls was started 
by the Sisters of Charity in the orphan asylum conducted by them on 
Biddle Street between Tenth and Eleventh. Two years later a school- 
house for the girls was erected. Before the end of 1848 the boys also 
were occupying a school-house of their own, which adjoined the church 
on the north and served at the same time as a residence for the pastors. 
During the same year a night-school for adults desirous of learning Eng- 
lish was started, the classes being conducted first by a salaried school- 
master and afterwards by Father Seisl. 

On June 6, 1851, Archbishop Kenrick dedicated the German Orphan 
Asylum on Hogan Street, a few blocks west of St. Joseph's Church. 
It was built at a cost of fourteen thousand dollars on property provided 
for the purpose by the vice-provincial, Father Elet. 

The pernicious influence exercised, especially through the press and 
other literary channels, by the German anti-Catholic group of St. LouiS 
popularly known as the Forty-eighters made it incumbent on the early 
pastors of St. Joseph's to combat the evil with similar weapons. In 1 848 
a parish library of six hundred volumes was established with the aid of 
money furnished largely by the Leopoldine Foundation of Vienna. 
In the same year the first German Catholic paper of the city, the St. 
Louis Zeitung, was founded, with a Mr. Eickhof, a one-time instructor 
in St. Joseph's parochial school, as editor. It suspended publication at 
the end of six months. In 1850 Father Seisl, who had set up a printing 
press of his own, brought out the weekly Sontag's Blatt, which ran for 

* 2 Berichtt, 21 (184.8-1849). 

48 Father Hofbauer returned to Austria in 1851, dying there as a Jesuit 
October 27, 1878. He met with some difficulty in the management of his St 
Louis parish, a curious incident in this connection being told in SeisPs Latin 


a year and a half. He also either wrote or edited a number of publica- 
tions, among them Katholisches Lesebuch for Her Deutschen Schulen> 
Kleiner Katechismus, a Life of St. Peter Claver y and an account of the 
conversion of M. Ratisbon. It may be added that Father Christopher 
Genelli wrote his scholarly Life of St. Ignatius while serving as assistant- 
pastor at St. Joseph's, 1 848-1 849. 44 

With the passing of the years and the growing improvement in the 
economic status of its members, St. Joseph's parish developed into a 
distinctly self-supporting and highly flourishing section of the Catholic 
population of St. Louis. An idea of the extent to which the organization 
of the parish was carried during the pastorate of Father Weber is fur- 
nished by a report which he forwarded to the Father General in 1862. 

Our residence numbers three Fathers [Weber, Wippern, D. Niederkorn] 
with a Brother [Caspar Baumgartner] for the household work. It is scarcely 
possible to ascertain with certainty the number of souls committed to our 
care, but no one doubts that it exceeds 2000. Our church, though measuring 
104 feet by 65 feet, is twice too small to hold all [the parishioners] even on 
ordinary Sundays of the year. Great fervor and piety especially as shown in 
the frequentation of the sacraments are in evidence and as a consequence the 
other parishes are much edified thereby. A great help in this regard are the 
different confraternities and pious societies introduced into our parish. Besides 
the confraternities of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Living Rosary, as it 
is called, which meet every month, on which occasion it is usual for as many 
as 350 members to approach the Holy Table to gain the indulgences, we have 
the Confraternity of the Holy Scapular of Mount Carmel as also the Society 
for the Propagation of the Faith for the adults and the Society of the Holy 
Child for the boys and girls of our school. Moreover, there is the Society for 
young workmen founded in Cologne some time ago by Rev. Mr. Kolping 
and now spread throughout all Germany. Another society which does a great 
amount of good and is a source of edification even to the non-Catholics is the 
Society of St. Vincent de Paul for the relief of the poor, especially those of 
our own people. Our conference is by far the largest in point of membership 
and the most fervent in the whole city, numbering over 230 members, nearly 
all poor themselves and possessing nothing else except what they earn every 
day in the sweat of their brow. It is a marvel how eagerly they are wont to 
observe the rules and statutes of the aforesaid Society and how fervently they 
try to gain the indulgences which the statutes allow to them. It is a custom 
in our Conference for all the members to go to Holy Communion in a body 
on indulgence days. It is a rare spectacle indeed to see as many as 200 men 


** "The Herold des Glaubtns appeared for the first time on the first Sunday 
of January, 1850, under the editorship of P. Martin Scisl, then pastor of St. 
Joseph's Church. The publisher was P. Kessel, formerly employed in Saler's 
printing office." Rothensteiner, History of the Archdiocese of St. Louis (St. Louis, 
1928), 2:173. 


approaching the Eucharistic table with so much devotion and piety. Finally, 
there has been introduced the Congregation or Sodality of the Blessed Virgin 
for young ladies, with the same rules and statutes as obtain in our colleges. 
This Sodality numbers now over 145 young ladies, who are truly models of 
innocence and piety. On the first Sunday of every month all of them go to 
Holy Communion together or in a body, as we are accustomed to say. There 
are, besides, two other flourishing societies, one of men for the support of 
our schools and the other of women for procuring altar equipment. To keep 
all these pious societies up to the mark is no small labor. 

Then there are our well-attended parish schools in which Christian Doc- 
trine is explained twice a week. The boys are under the direction of two 
school-masters, each of whom receives a salary of $400. This money is 
supplied by the boys, each of whom pays fifty cents a month, the poor ex- 
cepted, who attend our schools without charge. The girls are under the 
direction and discipline of six nuns of the Congregation of the Blessed Virgin 
founded in Munich to conduct schools for the poor [School Sisters of Notre 
Dame]. They have over 313 girls, to whom they give an excellent education 
in every respect. 

Again, there is incumbent on us the spiritual care of the German Orphan 
Asylum, which was built some years ago in our neighborhood by an associa- 
tion of leading Catholic gentlemen. It counts at present some 103 boys and 
girls under the charge and management of the Sisters of St. Joseph, Every 
day one of Ours goes to celebrate Mass, to instruct the orphans and to hear 
their confessions as also those of the Sisters. There are, besides, other convents 
of nuns committed to our care, in which confessions must be heard and 
exhortations given every week, and still other convents to which we go only 
four times a year as extraordinary confessors. 

So far I have said nothing about the public devotions introduced in our 
church. We hold nine-day devotions [novenas] before Christmas Day, the 
feast of St. Joseph, patron of our church, and the feast oC the Sacred Heart. 
We celebrate the month of May by an exhortation to the people every eve- 
ning, and the six Sundays of St. Aloysius by a sermon in the afternoon on the 
virtues of this holy patron of youth, about 400 devout men and women 
being present at the sermon. Every Sunday, besides a sermon at High Mass, 
we have in the afternoon Catechism for the children and a catechetical 
instruction for adults, this last very well attended. Moreover, during Lent 
the people have a sermon once and the Way of the Cross twice a week. 

Then we have a fair sized library of spiritual books for the, parishioners. 
Books are taken out on Sundays after the afternoon services. 

Moreover, we have made several excursions to near-by parishes where 
we preached and heard confessions. One of our Fathers preached every week 
during Lent in the neighboring Church of Saints Peter and Paul, Another 
helped our Fathers for a whole month in the Residence of St. Francis 
[Washington, Mo.]. Still another lent help to the parish priest in Belleville, 
Illinois, We twice gave the spiritual exercise to nuns. 

In the May of this year we began to renovate the church and paint it 


throughout with suitable decoration at a cost of about $1400, almost all of 
which sum was generously contributed by the people. We began, besides, to 
build a new school for our boys, as the old one was no longer able to hold 
them all. The building we began to construct is 75 feet long, 60 feet wide 
and 55 feet high and will cost $12,000. 

We heard during the course of the year about 21,000 confessions, of 
which 109 were general. We attended 159 dying. As to conversions there 
were not more than eight. 

Our Residence serves as a stimulus to the other parishes of this city. 45 

In the autumn of 1865 Archbishop Kenrick laid the corner-stone 
of a new St. Joseph's Church, a spacious and impressive structure of 
Romanesque design, which was dedicated on December 30, 1866, Father 
De Smet being the officiating priest in the ceremony. The church was 
in reality an addition to the old one, which was razed in 1880, to make 
way for an imposing fagade in keeping with the style of the new 


From 1847 to 1851 the two Catholic parishes of Chillicothe, Ohio, 
St. Mary's for English- and St. Peter's for German-speaking worship- 
pers, were in charge of Jesuit priests. Chillicothe, a hundred miles east 
of Cincinnati on the banks of the Scioto, was visited in its pioneer days 
by Father Stephen Badin, the first priest ordained in the United States, 
and by the Dominican friars, Fathers Alemany, Mazzuchelli and 
Young, all names of enduring record in the history of the Church in the 
Middle West. In June, 1 837, came Father Henry D. Juncker, the future 
Bishop of Alton, Illinois, as first resident pastor. An old Episcopalian 
church on South Walnut Street, the first of that denomination so it has 
been asserted, erected west of the Allegheny Mountains, was purchased 
by the Catholics shortly after Father Juncker's arrival and named St. 
Mary's. Juncker, who remained in charge of the parish until July, 1845, 
was assisted at various times by Father Edward Purcell, brother of the 
Bishop of Cincinnati, Father Amadeus Rappe, afterwards Bishop of 
Cleveland, Father H. B. Butler, subsequently vicar-general of Coving- 
ton, and Father J. B. Emig of the Society of Jesus. 

In a few years the little brick church was found inadequate to the 
needs of the congregation, chiefly German and numbering in 1845 
about fifteen hundred souls. Arrangements were first made to build a 
more spacious edifice for the common use of the English and German- 
speaking members of the congregation $ but the plan was soon aban- 

45 Lltterae. Annuac Residential atl StL Josef hi, St. Louis, Mo., July i, 1861 
July i, 1862. (A). 


doned as impracticable. It was then determined that the entire congre- 
gation should contribute first to the erection of a church for the German- 
speaking group and afterwards to the erection of another church for the 
English-speaking members. By the time the new church for the Ger- 
mans, to be called St. Peter's, would be under roof, the English- 
speaking part of the congregation were to begin a new Church of St. 
Mary's for themselves. A lot was purchased at the corner of Water 
and Church Streets and here June 30, 1845, the corner-stone of St. 
Peter's Church was laid. It was finished in the fall of 1846 with Father 
Casper Borgess as the pastor in charge. The new edifice of stone and 
brick was in Gothic style and measured one hundred feet long by fifty- 
five feet wide with a recess for the altar and sacristy and a tower in 
front, its entire length being one hundred and eighteen feet. The spire, 
finished with ball and cross, rose one hundred and forty-two feet above 

ground. 46 

In March, 1 847, Bishop Purcell expressed a desire to Father Van de 
Velde that the Jesuits assume spiritual care of the Catholics of Chilli- 
cothe. "The Right Rev. Bishop of Cincinnati," Van de Velde wrote at 
once to the General, "has asked the vice-province to take care of Chilli- 
cothe. ... I have no doubt at all of your Paternity's consent, as the 
Right Rev. Bishop wishes to have his request complied with." 47 The 
superior's advisers in St. Louis were of the opinion that at least one 
father should be stationed there and the names of Fathers Kenny and 
d'Hoop were proposed for the mission. In the meantime Van de Velde, 
on occasion of a contemplated visit to Cincinnati, was to inspect the 
Chillicothe mission in person and then confer on the matter with Bishop 
Purcell. Father Roothaan, having been appealed to for a German-speak- 
ing father, answered under date of July 12, 1847, that he could not, 
in view of the great scarcity of German priests, think of accepting the 
new residence, except provisionally. "Not in Missouri alone but almost 
everywhere there is a demand for German priests." Fathers Kalchcr 
and d'Hoop were eventually assigned to Chillicothe, the first for the 
German- and the second for the English-speaking congregation. The 
Cincinnati Catholic Telegraph for May 27, 1847, contained the an- 
nouncement: "Rev. Fathers Kalcher and d'Hoop have been charged by 
the Bishop with the care of St. Peter's and St. Mary's congregations, 
Chillicothe. These Rev. Fathers intend to commence a school for boys 
immediately after their arrival in Chillicothe. We have no doubt of 
the success which will crown their useful undertaking, nor of its being 
furnished promptly with teachers and professors who will justify the 
confidence which we bespeak for them from the citizens generally," 

** Catholic Telegrofh (Cincinnati), June 26, 1845. 
47 Van de Velde ad Roothaan, March 14, 184.7. (AA). 


In 1849 Father George Carrell, future first Bishop of Covington, 
was superior of the Chillicothe residence. Father Kalcher attended to 
the German portion of the congregation while Father Peter Tschieder 
was charged with the care of the mission-stations in the neighborhood. 
These included St. Joseph's in Circleville, St. Francis Xavier in Pleas- 
ant Valley, eight miles from Chillicothe 5 Frankfort, Williamsport, 
New Holland and Piketon, all of which places were visited once a 
month. Father Carrell, on his arrival in Chillicothe, began to organize 
the English-speaking Catholics into a separate congregation. About a 
dozen families of them now returned to the original St. Mary's Church 
on Walnut Street, which was still in possession of St. Peter's congrega- 
tion. Among the laymen identified with the building up of the new St. 
Mary's parish were Marshall Anderson, Jacob Eichenlaub, James 
Scully, Roger and Charles Cull, Andrew Malone, Dr. T. McNally, 
Edward, Peter and James Carville, William B. Hanley, John Reily, 
John Poland and his two sons Patrick and William. "The rapid growth 
of the Church in Chillicothe," wrote a son of William Poland, "can 
be justly attributed to the untiring zeal of the Jesuit Fathers. Not con- 
tent with working within the city, they began to seek for conversions 
in the country round about. On the Waverly Turnpike, below Massie- 
ville, stands St. Xavier's Mission Church, now almost in ruins, which 
they erected, and to which, while they remained in Chillicothe, a hun- 
dred souls went to worship. In Harrison Township, near Londonderry, 
another mission with a church named St. Mary's was established." 48 

In 1851 the two parishes of St. Mary's and St. Peter's were resigned 
into Bishop PurcelPs hands and the Jesuits withdrew from Chillicothe. 
They had stipulated for only a temporary administration of the parishes, 
which were now assigned pastors from the diocesan clergy, Father 
Thomas Boulger going to St. Mary's and Father Edward Lieb to St. 
Peter's. 40 


Although the Jesuits of the Middle West never established what 
could be properly called a residence in Terre Haute, the single parish 
of the town was administered by them through a space of three years, 
during which time negotiations for its permanent acceptance were car- 
ried on between the bishop of the diocese and the Jesuit superiors. In 
June, 1857, Bishop de St. Palais of Vincennes visited St. Louis to offer 

48 W, Poland, Che-le-cothe: Glimfses of Yesterday, p. 220. 

49 For Father Murphy's letter to Archbishop Purcell on the occasion of the 
cession of Chillicothe, see supra, I. "The Bishop's brother [Rev. Edward 
Purcell], who is also Vicar General, readily agreed to it." Murphy a Roothaan, 
March 3, 1852. (AA). 


to the vice-provincial the spiritual charge of Terre Haute. The terms of 
the offer appeared so favorable to the latter and his consultors that at 
a meeting of the board held on June 24, 1857, they resolved to accept 
it, provided the Society, in case the mission was subsequently relin- 
quished, should be reimbursed for improvements made out of its private 
funds. Final arrangements, however, were not to be made before the 
mind of the Father General had been ascertained. A letter of Father 
De Smet addressed to Father Beckx enters into the details of the 
Bishop's offer: 

Monsignor St. Palais, Bishop of Vincennes in the State of Indiana, came 
to spend a few days with us at the University. The object of his visit was his 
earnest desire to possess a house of the Society of Jesus in his extensive diocese. 
He offers a flourishing parish in the town of Terre Haute, which has a popu- 
lation of about 12,000, and proposes to give the Society of Jesus exclusive 
charge of the mission of Terre Haute on the following conditions: 

1. As soon as convenient to the Society and as soon as permission shall 
have been obtained from the Very Rev. Father General, the Society will 
furnish the priests needed for the mission. In the interim, it will send a Father 
to take charge of the congregation. The understanding is that the number 
of priests is to be determined by the Fathers alone and not by the mission or 

2. If the Society accepts the mission, the Bishop will give the Fathers 
immediate possession of the church and presbytery, free of all debt and with 
all their appurtenances. The house can easily accommodate two or three 

3. The Boys 7 school and the church revenues will be controlled by the 
Fathers and be subject to their disposition. The Bishop reserves to himself 
only the amount of two annual collections, one for the diocesan seminary and 
the other for the support of the orphan asylum, apart from the cathedraticum 
established by the diocesan statutes and saving any other regulation sanctioned 
by the Holy See. 

4. The Bishop does not require the establishment of a college j he merely 
desires it and only in so far as the Society should judge it proper and useful. 

In compliance with the pressing invitation of the Bishop and after mature 
deliberation on the part of Very Rev. Father Provincial and his Consultors, 
it was decided to send Father Di Maria to Terre Haute pro tern, and pending 
your Paternity's decision as to accepting or rejecting the terms laid down by 
the Bishop in any case, however, the supposition being that the Vice-Prov- 
ince could spare Father Di Maria or some other Father for the. needs of this 
mission. The report made by Father Di Maria to Rev. Father Provincial on 
present conditions in the mission is highly favorable. He gives assurance that 
a house of the Society in that quarter would be of the first importance and 
that the ministry of the Fathers would result in immense good, both for the 
town and its vicinity. I dare to hope that with the permission of your Paternity, 
the offer of the Bishop of Indiana will be accepted* I will add that the Bishop 


is ready to accede to any proposition the Society may make; he earnestly 
desires to have Jesuits in his diocese. 50 

Father Beckx's reply, addressed to the vice-provincial, Father 
Druyts, while not a refusal, emphasized the objections that might be 
raised to the acceptance of the mission of Terre Haute: 

1. In the first place, on looking over the catalogue of the Vice-Province, 
I notice that there are three times as many small residences as there are 
houses organized according to the requirements of the Institute. . . . 

2. The Vice-Province is so overburdened beyond measure that up to the 
present it has been unable to give its members the formation which the 
Institute requires, both in letters and in a solid religious spirit; philosophical 
and theological studies are not as yet on a proper footing. 

3. The Vice-Province can scarcely provide for its houses, now multiplied 
to excess, including the ones quite recently opened in Milwaukee and Chicago, 
which in due time shall have to be enlarged. Where, then, is it going to find 
men for the new residence of which there is question? . . . To one who 
considers the present state of the Vice-Province, it ought to be clear that the 
need of the moment is to form our men properly in the first and second 
probation, in studies, and in the third probation rather than to assume new 
obligations. At the same time, if your Reverence can without prejudice to the 
Vice-Province, take in hand the mission offered by the bishop of Vincennes, I 
shall not, absolutely speaking, withhold my consent. 61 

In the end the vice-province did not take over Terre Haute, 
though in accordance with the stipulation made with the Bishop of 
Vincennes it supplied a father for the parish pending the final settlement 
of the question at issue. When the Bishop returned from his visit to 
St. Louis in June, 1857, he had in his company Father Francis Di 
Maria, who was to assume charge of St. Joseph's parish in Terre Haute. 
The Bishop declared himself ready to turn over both church and rectory 
permanently to the Jesuits, as also an adjoining piece of property which 
he purchased in their interest at a cost of thirty-five hundred dollars. 
The parish, the only one in the city, had been served the previous year 
by Father Simon Lalumiere. In June, 1858, Father De Smet wrote to 
the Father General: "In view of the lack o subjects in the vice-province, 
the Consultors are divided in regard to the importance of a Residence 
in this locality. A residence of the Society would be desirable there, in 
consideration of the large number of Catholics in Indiana and the favor- 
able disposition of the Bishop towards the Society, together with his 
great desire to have Jesuits in the diocese he is disposed to wait one 
or more years to obtain this, provided that Father Di Maria be per- 

50 De Smet 2i Bcckx, August 3, 1857. (A). 
81 Bcckx ad Druyts, October 3, 1857, (A). 


mitted to remain there during the interval. This good Father, however, 
has need of a companion. He does considerable good in Terre Haute." 52 
Father Di Maria's stay in Terre Haute continued from June, 1857, 
to August, 1859. Some necessary improvements on St. Joseph's Church 
and rectory which he carried through involved an outlay of some four 
thousand dollars. The German Catholics, organized into a sort of sepa- 
rate parish, also enjoyed his services. Besides attending to these two 
congregations, he was charged with the spiritual care of the mother- 
house of the Sisters of Providence situated a few miles outside of Terre 
Haute. He looked upon the city as a highly promising field of work and 
in March, 1859, a f ter ^ e had been engaged in it for twenty-one months, 
wrote to Father Beckx pleading for its definite acceptance: 

Terre Haute is a very fine city of some twelve thousand inhabitants and 
goes on growing from day to day. There are railroads which go Efnst], 
W[est], N[orth], S[outh], It is situated on a river called the Wabash, 
navigable by steamer and on a canal which extends from Lake Michigan to 
the Ohio River. The surrounding land is pretty rich and well cultivated. It is 
midway between St. Louis, Louisville and Cincinnati; hence would be a great 
convenience to Ours who have to pass from one college to another. There are 
in Terre Haute about three thousand Catholics among the Americans, Irish 
and Germans. These two congregations give about three thousand dollars 
a year. You see clearly that with such a sum three Fathers and two Brothers 
can be easily supported. 

A residence of Ours in Terre Haute besides being of the greatest advan- 
tage to the city would also prove highly advantageous to the entire diocese of 
Vmcennes. Retreats for priests, occasional missions, visits to the neighboring 
villages where the people are without assistance, would do considerable good, 
and certainly result A. M. D. G. . . . Everything here is in readiness to 
receive our men. I hope God will inspire you to send Jesuits to this city for 
his greater glory. 58 

In August, 1859, Father Di Maria was transferred by Father 
Druyts from Terre Haute to the scholasticate recently opened on the 
College Farm in North St. Louis, where he lectured on dogmatic 
theology and canon law, but for a year only, the scholasticate being sus- 
pended in 1860 and the Jesuit students sent to continue their studies in 
Boston. He was thereupon assigned to pastoral duty at the College 
Church in St. Louis, but after a year in this employment was transferred 
at his own request from the Missouri Vice-province to the Maryland 
Province of the Society. 64 He survived his transfer to the East eight 

52 De Smet a Beckx, June I, 1858. (A). 
88 Di Maria a Beckx, March 21, 1859. ( AA )- 
"Murphy ad Beckx, August 14, 1861. (AA). 


years, dying in 1871 in Philadelphia, where he had been engaged in 
pastoral duties at old St. Joseph's Church in Willing>s Alley. 55 

At Terre Haute Father Di Maria was replaced by Father John 
Beckwith, who had the assistance of the coadjutor-brother, Clement 
Bocklage. Father Horstmann had care of the hundred and fifty German 
families in the parish, many of whom had almost lost the faith. The 
two fathers had been placed in Terre Haute in a final attempt to de- 
termine through their experience on the ground whether the station 
there should be retained or given up. 56 A year later Father Druyts with 
the approval of the Visitor, Father Sopranis, notified Bishop de St. 
Palais that the two Jesuits in charge of St. Joseph's parish could not 
remain beyond September i, 1860. The Bishop still hoped to retain 
them, but, so Druyts informed the General, "in view of the circum- 
stances in which this Vice-Province finds itself owing to neglect in the 
education of its young men, etc., it seems that this is scarcely possible." 57 
Sometime before the end of 1860 the Jesuits withdrew definitely from 
Terre Haute, St. Joseph's parish passing thereupon into the hands of 
the Benedictine fathers. 58 


Here and there at scattered points in the Middle West parishes were 
taken in hand provisionally in answer to urgent requests from bishops 
who were unable to provide for them from the ranks of their own 
clergy. Thus, in the course of 1847 Father Ignatius Maes, S. J., was 
stationed at Cahokia, St. Clair County, Illinois, as resident pastor of the 
Church of the Holy Family, Bishop Quarter of Chicago, to whose 
diocese Cahokia belonged, having asked the Jesuits to assume charge of 
the parish. The church building, of logs, was an eighteenth-century 
structure and is still standing j the parish, or rather the mission out of 
which it grew, was established in 1699 by Seminary priests of Quebec 
and not by Jesuits, as is sometimes stated. It is the oldest parish in the 
state of Illinois. In August, 1847, Father Van de Velde decided to allow 
Father Maes to remain at Cahokia, stipulation being made that in case 
of his sickness or death, no obligation should exist to supply another 
priest of the Society and that once a month and on the more important 
festivals of the Church he was to visit French Village. 50 This small 
settlement with its church of St Philip was distant a few miles from 
Cahokia. Early in 1848 Father Van de Velde informed Father Elet, 

WQf. sufra, Chap. XVIII, 5. 

80 Druyts a Beckx, August 28, 1859. (AA). 

"Druyts Bcckx, August i, 1860. (AA), 

58 Catholic Directory, 1861. 

50 IMer Consultationum, January 12, 1849. (A). 


who was then in Rome attending a congregation of procurators, that 
his petition to the General for permission to accept Cahokia had 
elicited no response! "I have not as yet received an answer regarding 
the congregations or missions of Cahokia and Kaskaskia, which the 
Bishop of Chicago offers us and which he says rightly belong to us since 
they were the first of all the missions founded by our Fathers in the 
western country before the year 1700 and were bedewed with their 
sweat and blood. Father Maes is now stationed in the former while 
the latter is 20 leagues distant from the city [St. Louis] and being very 
poor is frequently left to itself. Many of our ancient Fathers were 
buried there." 60 In 1 849 Father Van de Velde, now become Bishop of 
Chicago, made efforts to have the Jesuits take over Cahokia and Kas- 
kaskia permanently. Father Elet, the vice-provincial, and his consultors 
hesitated to do so and it was determined to refer the matter to the 
General. Despite his usual opposition to any expansion of the field 
of the middlewestern Jesuits, Father Roothaan's attitude was that these 
new obligations might be assumed provided Elet could spare the men 
necessary to meet them. But the latter, in view of his meagre personnel, 
took no definite action in the matter, while his successor, Father Mur- 
phy, turned Cahokia back in 1852 to the Bishop of Chicago. Father 
Maes on being called from the Illinois parish in 1849 to open a mission 
among the Winnebago of Minnesota had been succeeded there by 
Father John Schultz, who remained in charge until the parish was 
vacated by the Jesuits. At the beginning of 1849 Father Busschots was 
in residence at Nouveau Village, and the following year at Belleville, 
both places being in St. Clair County, Illinois. These missions were 
given up simultaneously with Cahokia. "Bishop Van de Velde writes to 
Father De Smet," so Father Murphy informed the General, "that 
heaven in taking so many men away from us [by death] wishes to 
punish us for having withdrawn from Illinois, his diocese, the Fathers 
he had placed there when Provincial, as though there were no good 
reasons for our doing so. However, so blind and callous are we that we 
have neither remorse or apprehension, and should like to do a similar 
thing in Missouri." 61 

The mission of Marshall, Saline County, Missouri, with neighbor- 

00 Van de Vclde ad Elet, January 26, 1848. (AA). New channels cut by the 
Mississippi in 1892 and 1899 ^P 1 a ^ay most of historic Kaskaskia. The fullest 
and most accurate account of the old Jesuit mission of Kaskaskia is Sister Mary 
Borgias Palm, S.N.D., The Jesuit Missions of the Illinois County, 1673-1763 
(Cleveland, 1934). For the beginnings of Cahokia cf. G. J. Garraghan, S.J., 
"New Light on Old Cahokia" in Illinois Catholic Historical Renew (Chicago), 
11:99-146 (October, 1928). 

61 Murphy a Roothaan, November 15, 1852. (AA). 


ing stations at Boonville, Middleton, Lexington and other points was 
served by Jesuit priests during the period 1846-1847. Father Di 
Maria and after him Father Dennis Kenny were pastors at Marshall, 
which appears to have been resigned into the hands of the Bishop of 
St. Louis about August, i84y. 62 When Father Di Maria arrived in the 
place, there was no church nor were there quarters anywhere for the 
proper celebration of Mass. At the earnest solicitations of the Catholics, 
who with the local Protestants contributed liberally for the purpose 
according to their means, Father Di Maria succeeded in putting up a 
little church. In March, 1 846, he was begging Father Roothaan for the 
three hundred dollars necessary for its completion. 63 

For three years, 1853-1856, Father Di Maria, at the request of 
Bishop Carrell of Covington, was engaged in various parochial duties 
in that diocese. For a period he lived with the prelate in Covington 
and was subsequently resident pastor of St. Peter's Church, Lexington, 
Kentucky. In December, 1857, when Bishop Carrell was urging the 
Jesuits to take this Lexington parish in charge again, he was advised by 
the vice-provincial that no further help could be extended to him in that 

In the fall of 1849 a father was temporarily stationed at Quincy, 
Illinois. In October of that year Father De Smet informed Bishop Van 
de Velde of Chicago: "Your request of [sic] not removing Father 
Schultz from Quincy came too late, as Father Provincial, upon his most 
earnest request, had already written to him to return immediately to 
St. Louis. It is indeed a great pity that we are so destitute in men. 
Quincy and Belleville certainly would be desirable places for beautiful 
missionary Residences. Besides, Rev. Father General insists on consoli- 
dating what is begun and in not allowing us to undertake anything with- 
out his special permission and approbation." G4 Notwithstanding the 
settlement indicated in this letter, there is on record a decision of the 
vice-provincial, Father Elet, to accept Quincy before the close of 1850, 
and Alton, also in Illinois, the following year. But the decision was 
never carried into effect and in March, 1851, Bishop Van de Velde was 
informed definitely that the Jesuits could not assume charge of Quincy. 

The influx of a number of German-speaking priests into the vice- 
province in 1 848 in consequence of disturbed conditions in Europe made 
it possible for the latter to undertake the care of German congregations 
at various points in the Middle West. Thus there were for a period 
Jesuit pastors in residence at St. Peter's, Chillicothe, Ohio, Corpus 

02 Father Di Maria was recalled from Marshall, his services as professor of 
theology being required in the scholasticate, 

08 Di Maria a Roothaan, March 23, 1846. (AA). 
04 De Smet to Van de Velde, October 18, 1849. ( A )- 


Christi, Newport, Ky., St. Joseph's, St. Louis, Mo., St. Peter's, Dar- 
denne, Mo., St. James, White Oak, Hamilton Co., Ohio, St. Francis 
Borgia's, Washington, Mo., St. Joseph's, Westphalia, Mo., St. Francis 
Xavier's, Taos, Mo. In Cincinnati Jesuit fathers were assistant-pastors 
at St. Mary's and St. Philomena's. All these parishes, with the exception 
of St. Joseph's, St.' Louis, were one after another subsequently relin- 
quished into the hands of the diocesan clergy, some of them in conse- 
quence of the recall of many of the German Jesuits to Europe. Father 
De Smet wrote to Father Elet in August, 1850: "Rev. Father Ander- 
ledy is about leaving for Europe. I doubt not but several others will 
soon follow him. The natural consequences of these changes are that we 
have to abandon missions, entirely settled by Germans, and give up to 
seculars several churches which we have built. Just now, the Dardennes, 
containing two German Congregations, have been given up to the Arch- 
bishop. By degrees, the hopes we had formed of being assisted in our 
arduous labors by our European brethren are quickly vanishing. 
Thousands of German Catholics living in the midst of dangers among 
the various Protestant sects are to be abandoned and to be left without 
priests or spiritual consolation and assistance, at least for a good while 
to come." 65 

An instance of the pressing need which existed at this period all 
through the West for German priests to minister to their immigrant 
countrymen is furnished by a letter of 1852 from Bishop Van de Vcldc 
to Father Verhaegen, pastor at this time at St. Charles, Mo. : 

The object of the present is to ask you a particular favor. There is a 
whole county [Calhoun], in my Diocese, the boundary of which on the 
Mississippi is only seven miles from St. Charles, which contains many Cath- 
olics, chiefly Germans, with a few Irish and French, and which, till under 
Father Elet's administration, was regularly attended by one of the German 
FF [Fathers] of St. Charles, once I think in two months [who] used to 
spend a week at a time among them. My intention was to procure them a 
resident priest this year. In the meantime I begged Father Verreydt to visit 
them occasionally he has been there but once or twice this year. I entreat 
your Reverence to have pity on these poor people now quite abandoned and 
to send a priest among them, either to reside or to visit them regularly from 
St. Charles or Portage. 66 

The vice-province, always undermanned in every field of endeavor 
in which it found itself engaged, was doing what it could for the Ger- 
man Catholic immigrants of the Middle West. At times indeed in a 
spirit of Cicero fro domo sw Jesuit pastors in charge of German- 

05 De Smet to Elet, August 17, 1850. (A). 

66 Van de Velde to Verhaegen, January n, 1852. (A). 


speaking parishes were moved to protest that these were not receiving 
an adequate quota of the available staff of workers. And yet, as 
Father Gleizal pointed out to the General in 1853, practically all the 
midwestern Jesuits employed in the parochial ministry were attached 
to the so-called German residences. The ever-recurring and in a measure 
baffling problem for superiors was to make a satisfactory distribution of 
the men at their command. In the beginning of 1862 Father Goeldlin 
of Westphalia was explaining to headquarters how that pivotal parish 
and its dependent stations were suffering for lack of missionaries in 
proper number and of proper calibre. At the same time the people 
"generally well disposed" were putting up with the situation with com- 
mendable patience. "If the scarcity of priests in the Vice-province was 
not a well known fact, these parishes would indeed seem to be neglected 
by superiors." 7 Some years earlier Father Goeldlin's predecessor at 
Westphalia, Father Helias, was lamenting in his perfervid way to 
Father Beckx what he thought to be the inadequacy of the service ren- 
dered to the German parishes of central Missouri. At Jefferson City 
where two-thirds of the Catholics were Germans, the parish, organized 
by Father Helias himself, and later passed over by Father Van de Velde 
to the archdiocese, was now in charge of a priest totally unacquainted 
with the German language. The fact was that the Archbishop of St. 
Louis was in dire need at the moment of five German-speaking priests. 
To Father Helias it seemed that the most competent of the German 
Jesuits who had affiliated with the vice-province had been diverted from 
the German parishes to other fields of labor. He instanced Father 
Schultz among the Indians, Father Tschieder among the "Americans or 
French," and Fathers Emig, Horstmann and Keller in the colleges. 
"Speaking for myself and my companions, I can say that we left our 
Province and all other comforts with this one end in view, i.e., the 
salvation of souls especially in the most difficult missions." "Not in this 
manner did our Father Ignatius act when amid the utmost scarcity of 
men he assigned to the Germans the first priest of the Society to- 
gether with one of its first members and, in extreme poverty as he was, 
founded the German College in Rome. For the conversion of that 
northern nation he ordered Masses to be said and prayers to be recited 
throughout the whole Society and, if the great apostle of the Indians 
had not been impeded by sickness, he would have recalled him from 
India to make him Superior in Germany." 8 Of the fathers named by 
Helias as having been diverted from the German parishes, three were 
at one time or another set over colleges as rectors. Evidently their 

07 Gocld]in ad Beckx, January 7, 1862. (AA). 

08 Helias ad Beckx, June 21, i8S5> J une 2 9> l $5%- (AA). 


services in the educational field were deemed of more pressing need 
than the services they might render in the parishes. 

To provide the organized German parishes with pastors was only 
one side of the problem that was thus clamoring for solution 5 "itiner- 
ant" missionaries, as they were called, were also needed to bestir the 
parishes with occasional "missions" or religious revivals and carry 
spiritual first aid to rural and backwoods places beyond the reach of the 
regular parochial service. What was being accomplished in this respect 
by Father Weninger and for a brief period by Father Patschowski 
shall presently be told. For the moment it will be enough to cite a 
passage from a report made in 1853 by Father Patschowski on the 
religious situation of the German Catholics in the United States. The 
evils which beset the latter and which, the report declares, existed 
chiefly in the cities though to some extent in the county-districts also, 
are enumerated as follows: 

i. Most of the German immigrants are of lowly origin and uneducated. 
Though as yet not even half-accustomed to American liberty and license, 
immediately on their arrival here they mix up in politics, judge wrongly on 
affairs of Church and State, etc. Hence the troubles which the Germans cause 
the bishops in many places. Moreover, many have brought with them from 
Europe a revolutionary spirit (esfrit revolutioncwre) ; not all of them, how- 
ever, for the greater part of them are still Catholics. 2. In the case of many 
a great danger is hunger for money, on which account they prefer temporal 
gain to their soul's salvation. 3. The abuse of "ardent liquors," an abuse 
indulged in even by many Germans. 4. Mixed marriages. 5. Not a few join 
secret societies for the sake of advancement. 6. The children arc not well 
instructed in the elements of Christian doctrine. 00 

In the long run the steady persevering fight maintained by the 
German pastors and the better instructed German laity to preserve 
the faith of the immigrants in the face of difficulties such as Father 
Patschowski found to exist in 1853 was crowned with the most gratify- 
ing results. The great bulk of the German immigrants, who were loyal 
and church-going Catholics when they arrived in America, so a well- 
considered opinion declares, continued such the remainder of their 
lives. 70 Some comments of Father Murphy, when Missouri vice- 
superior, are of interest in this connection. "That the Germans are re- 
solved," he observed in 1855, "to live together, to retain tenaciously 
their own language and purely domestic institutions and to have their 
own schools, gives offense to certain Catholics of other nationalities; 
yet in doing so, they have consulted in excellent fashion, so it would 

69 Patschowski an Pierling, February 22, 1853* (AA). 

70 Central Blatt md Social Justice (St. Louis), 1 8: 199. Sec note 23* 


seem, their own interests and those of their posterity." "A general com- 
munion of the conferences of St. Vincent de Paul took place on the 8th 
(December, 1861) among our Germans [of St. Joseph's] with wonder- 
ful fruit and to the lessening of that miserable spirit of nationality. 
The rest of the Germans have societies only for those of their own 
race. Father Wippern preached in English and with the happiest 
effect." 71 

71 Murphy ad Beckx, January, 1855, December 15, 1861. Data on the parochial 
ministry as exercised in churches attached to colleges will find their place in Part V 
in connection with the various colleges. 



Father John Polanco, secretary-general of the Society of Jesus in 
the life-time of its founder, recorded it as his opinion that the activity 
far excellence of a Jesuit is the molding of souls by means of the 
Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. This epoch-making little book, "very 
useful/ 5 so the papal brief of approbation declares, "for the edification 
and spiritual progress of the faithful/ 7 was published at Rome in 1548, 
being the first Jesuit book to issue from the press. It is the Jesuit's 
adequate and comprehensive spiritual guide as far as any human 
literary product can perform such a service $ it embodies the spirituality 
which he seeks to develop in his own soul as also the spirituality which 
he seeks to impart to others. "To make a retreat" is the conventional 
locution for the process of going through the Exercises, the term 
"retreat" connoting the silence, the seclusion, the withdrawal from 
secular interests and occupations which provide the proper atmosphere 
for the performance of the Exercises. Again, one does not properly 
"preach" a retreat 5 one "directs" or "gives" it, for a retreat oji the 
Ignatian plan is not a series of sermons but an organized system of 
meditations on spiritual truths with examinations of conscience and 
other exercises of a sacred nature, the director merely proposing matter 
for reflection and not delivering set discourses. At the same time, the 
so-called popular missions or parochial revivals conducted in churches 
by Jesuit preachers are in reality a form of the Ignatian Exercises, which 
suggest the content as well as the development of the more important 

1 The standard critical edition with, historical and textual commentaries is 
Exercitia Sfiritualia Sancti Ignatii de Loyola et eorum Directoria (Madrid, 1919). 
There are numerous English translations of the Exercises, e.g., Joseph Rickaby, 8.J., 
Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola, Spanish and English with a Goutmunus 
Commentary (London, 1923); W. Longridgc, The Spiritual Exercises of St. 
Ignatius of Loyola (London, 1919)5 Elder Mullan, S.J., The Spiritual SxernisM 
of St. Ignatius of Loyola (New York, 1914). Cf. also Joseph Rickaby, SJ,, Umo 
1 made my Retreat (London, 1911); H. V. Gill, S.J., Jesuit Spirituality (Dublin, 
*936)> James P. Monaghan, S.J., Teach me Thy Paths (Chicago, 1936). "A 
place in the first rank of all that helps towards this end has been won by those 



When Father Roothaan became General in 1829, he found that 
the Spiritual Exercises had fallen into neglect in the Society and that 
their true nature was sometimes obscured in the minds even of Jesuits 
themselves. To remedy this state of things he carried on a vigorous 
campaign of exposition of the true idea of the Exercises, one feature 
of which was the publication in 1835 of a new edition of the work with 
a fresh Latin translation of his own from the Spanish text and with 
accompanying commentaries. The result was that the Exercises began 
to be restored to their proper place in the life of the Society. The use 
of them was better understood and the results attending their perform- 
ance became more substantial. The gradual recovery which the Society 
thus made of effective use of its official manual of spiritual training 
made itself felt among the Jesuits of the Middle West. Ignatian re- 
treats, however, had been conducted by them from their first arrival 
in the field. Mother Duchesne noted in a letter to her superior, St. 
Madeleine Sophie Barat, that her nuns were greatly pleased with the 
manner in which Father Van Quickenborne had brought them through 
the Exercises. 2 But retreat-giving was withal a ministry of rare oc- 
currence. "The Spiritual Exercises according to the method of our Holy 
Father," Verhaegen wrote to the General in 1829, "are not given to 
any outsiders except the Religious of the Sacred Heart." s Somewhat 
later a Missouri Jesuit was writing to Father Roothaan in Rome that 
the fathers and scholastics had as yet received no explicit instruction in 
the manner of giving the Exercises. But a belated copy of Father Root- 
haan's new edition found its way to Missouri and Father De Theux 
promptly made use of it for the enlightenment of his brethren. In 1838 
Father Roothaan on forwarding to Verhaegen a copy of his edition 
stressed the importance even for the scholastics of study of the Exer- 

Spiritual Exercises that St. Ignatius, under a divine inspiration, introduced into 
the Church. For although, in the goodness and pity of God there has never lacked' 
men who should aptly set forth deep thoughts upon heavenly things before the 
eyes of the Faithful yet Ignatius was the first to begin to teach a certain system 
and special method of going through Spiritual Retreats. . . . Accordingly, this 
little book, so small in bulk yet so wonderful, has from its very first edition been 
solemnly approved by the Roman Pontiffs; they have loudly extolled it, have 
furthered it by their Apostolic Authority and have never ceased to lead men to 
use it, by heaping the gift of holy indulgences upon it and gracing it with ever 
renewed praises." Encyclical (Motu Propio) of Pius XI, 1922. Catholic Mind 
(New York), Nov. 8, 1922. Pius XI named St. Ignatius Loyola "the heavenly 
patron of all Spiritual Exercises." 

2 Duchesne a Barat, September 29, 1823. General Archives of the Society of 
the Sacred Heart. 

8 Verhaegen ad Roothaan, January 12, 1829. (AA). For an account of the 
General's activities in regard to the Exercises cf. Pietro Pirri, S.J., ?. Giovanni 
Rootha0n> XXI Generate della comfagnia di Gesu (Rome, 1930), Chap. XL 


cises: "Both the Fathers and the young men should learn how to give 
the Exercises properly. These have always been the Society's chief in- 
strument for the salvation as well as of its own members as of others 5 
but their efficacy depends above everything else on the way in which 
they are handled. I should like to know from your Reverence what 
is being done in this regard." 4 

No one entered more eagerly into Father Roothaan's concern for 
the Exercises or did more to bring their importance home to his con- 
freres than Father GleizaL As master of novices he had exceptional 
opportunity to accustom the young Jesuits, as Father Roothaan had 
desired, to the use of St. Ignatius's classic treatise. In 1856 he attributed 
the prevailing good spirit among the novices to "the Exercises of our 
Holy Father," which had "become a paramount object of study here." 5 
This study was not a recent introduction at Florissant. On assuming 
charge of the novitiate six years before Gleizal had begun to give the 
novices a conference every day on the Exercises. "I am convinced," he 
made known to Father Roothaan, "that by means of the Exercises they 
[the novices] can procure the greater glory of God much more readiJy 
and efficaciously than by any other means, as they can also [by the 
same means] seize and retain the spirit of the Society. This is a matter 
which in my opinion has been a little neglected from time to time in 
this Province. I am even beginning to have them [novices] give the 
Exercises, e. g., to our coadjutor-brothers, who come here for the 
purpose [of making them] . I am not at all dissatisfied with the results 
obtained by those who have given them so far." 

Once the ministry of retreats got under way there was never any 
lack of opportunity for this outlet of apostolic energy and zeal especially 
among the Catholic sisterhoods. Here a tradition of devoted and effec- 
tive service was eventually built up and it has lasted to our own day. 
Father Gleizal conducted retreats for Mother Guerin's valiant band of 
pioneer nuns at Saint-Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana, Father Arnoudt 
did the same for numerous communities of nuns in and around Cincin- 
nati, and Father Coppens presided in 1869 over the first Chicago retreat 
of the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. 

Retreats for the clergy have always been regarded by the Jesuits 
as a ministry particularly fruitful of good results. In the early thirties 
Father Peter Kenney, the Visitor, gave the Exercises to the priests of 
the Bardstown diocese as did also Father John McElroy of the Mary- 
land Province some years later. The earliest recorded clergy retreat 
conducted by a western Jesuit was apparently the one which Father 

* Roothaan ad Verhaegen, May 19, 1838. (AA). 

5 Gleizal a Roothaan, February 6, 1856. (AA). 

6 Gleizal a Roothaan, January 22, 1850* (AA). 


Di Maria gave in April, 1847, to the priests of the Chicago diocese. 7 
It took place in the newly opened University of St. Mary of the Lake 
in Chicago and was the first ever made by the clergy of the northern 
diocese. "F[ather] Van Hulst," De Smet noted in a letter written to a 
friend in 1856, "is actually [i.e., at present] giving a retreat to the 
priests in Kentucky he has given one in Milwaukee to the clergy and 
another in Indiana. A good number of FF. [Fathers] have passed their 
vacation giving retreats in monasteries and to the laity in Illinois and 
Missouri." 8 The priests "in Kentucky" mentioned in De Smet's letter 
were those of the Louisville diocese. Bishop Spalding was keenly 
appreciative of this retreat as he made known to Archbishop Purcell: 
"The thirty-three priests of my diocese who made their retreat at Bards- 
town gave me most satisfaction and Consolation by their edifying regu- 
larity. The retreat could scarcely have gone on better. Father Van 
Hulstj the Director, is truly a man of God. I made some good resolu- 
tions which I hope God will give me the grace to keep with your good 
prayers." 9 A few years later (September, 1860) Bishop Spalding wrote 
again to the Archbishop of Cincinnati: "By the way, we had a glorious 
retreat by Father Smarms." 10 Father Damen was also regarded as a 
skilful director of clerical retreats. The number of retreats conducted 
on behalf of the clergy and of communities of religious women went on 
increasing, amounting in one summer-period (c. 1865) to over sixty. 
As a rule the Exercises were thus given only during the summer 
months. In 1856 Father Brunner, who was resident for a few years 
in the vice-province, expressed to the Father General the edification 
he received on seeing the fathers of St. Louis University, though 
fatigued with the year's work of the class-room, spend the summer 
vacations in giving the Exercises with many tokens of success. 11 

It was only in the first decade of the present century that the mid- 
western Jesuits began to conduct retreats on behalf of laymen in series 
and as an organized form of the ministry. But in earlier days such 
retreats were not unknown. They were given as a rule at the novitiate 
and to individuals only, rarely to groups. What was probably the first 
retreat held for a number of laymen in common was one which Father 
Damen directed at the novitiate on behalf of a small group of St. 
Louisans. 12 

7 Garraghan, Catholic Church in Chicago > 1673*1871 (Chicago, 1921), p. in. 
8 De Smet to Duerinck, August 14, 1856. (A). 

8 Spalding to Purcell, September 9, 1856. (I). 

10 Spalding to Purcell, September 21, 1860. (I). 

11 Brunner ad Bcckx, October 26, 1856. (AA), 

12 Members of Damon's "Gentleman's Sodality" of St. Francis Xavicr Church, 
St. Louis, made up the group. 


The retreats of which there has been question in the foregoing 
paragraphs are generally described as "closed," the idea being that the 
participants withdraw entirely from their usual occupations for a period 
running all the way from two or three to thirty days, spending this time 
in silence and recollection, generally in some religious institution or in 
a house particularly designed for the purpose. But there is another type 
of retreat, though the term is here used with less propriety, one, 
namely, in which the participants do not forego their customary occupa- 
tions but merely assemble once or twice a day, generally in the parish 
church, to listen to a series of sermons or instructions delivered either 
by a diocesan clergyman or by a priest of some religious order. To this 
type belongs the popular or parish mission, which has for its object 
the infusion of new spiritual vigor into a parish or congregation. The 
method used by Jesuit missionaries to secure this end is that of the 
Ignatian Exercises as found particularly in the first of the four so-called 
weeks or groups of exercises that make up the series. The Spiritual 
Exercises of St. Ignatius present in their entirety a succession of thoughts 
or topics for personal reflection admirably selected and combined with 
a view to stimulate the soul to a faithful observance of the complete 
Christian rule of life, "do good and avoid evil." The meaning of life, 
the value of the human soul, sin, judgment, hell, the reception of the 
sacraments, are topics particularly stressed in the parish-mission. In the 
pre-suppression Society of Jesus the preaching of missions after the 
method of the Exercises was carried on extensively 5 in the restored 
Society it was resumed gradually in proportion as circumstances per- 
mitted the assignment of men to this important ministry. 

Evidences of the use of the parochial revival by the regular and 
sometimes secular clergy of the United States appear in the early 
decades of the nineteenth century. Already in the twenties Father 
Francis Patrick Kenrick, later Archbishop of Baltimore, was going up 
and down the countryside sustaining the faith of the scattered Catholics 
of Kentucky by means of missionary revivals. The Redemptorists were 
the first to place regular missionary bands in the field, missions having 
been conducted by them from the thirties on. 13 Among the middle- 
western Jesuits the preaching of missions as a steady and regular em- 
ployment assigned to certain fathers began in 1848 with the inaugura- 
tion of Father Francis Xavier Weninger's justly celebrated missionary 
work in the German-speaking parishes of the United States. Even in 
the earlier stages of their history they had not failed, when opportunity 
offered, to conduct parochial missions here and there as the most 

18 Benjamin J. Webb, Centenary of Catholicity in Kentucky (Louisville, 
1884), pp. 95, 378 j T. L. Skinner, C.SS.R,, The Redemptorists in the West (St. 
Louis, 1932). 


effective means of reviving religious fervor. The missions preached by 
Father Verhaegen at Portage des Sioux in 1828, by Father Van Lommel 
at Dardenne in 1831 and by Father Gleizal at Florissant in 1838 were 
commended at the time for the happy results which attended them. On 
Palm Sunday night, 1851, Father Verhaegen opened a three-days' 
course of "spiritual exercises for the people," in St. Mary's Cathedral, 
Chicago, with an introductory sermon on the Exercises of St. Ignatius. 
Two years later, in 1853, Father Gleizal preached a week's mission in 
the same cathedral while his fellow-Jesuit, Father Weninger, was 
simultaneously conducting in St. Joseph's Church his first mission in the 
city of Chicago. 


The career of Father Weninger is an episode of importance in the 
story of the upbuilding of Catholicism in the United States. He was 
born August 31, 1805, in his father's castle of Wildhaus in Marburg, 
Province of Styria, Austria. His mother was a member of the nobility, 
his father a wealthy landowner with connections at the Hapsburg court. 
As a student at the University of Vienna he enjoyed the personal 
patronage of the Empress of Austria. Doctor of divinity, fellow of the 
University of Gratz and professor of dogmatic theology at twenty-five, 
he became a Jesuit at twenty-seven, entering the Austro-Hungarian 
Province October 31, 1832. He had a gift for preaching and giving 
missions and the success he met with in this ministry during his sixteen 
years of Jesuit life in Austria was noteworthy. But his zeal sought a 
soil more in need of cultivation than his native land. The United States 
of America, with its German-speaking population, increasing daily as the 
tide of immigration rolled in on its shores, seemed to offer the most 
inviting field for the exercise of his special gifts. 

Then the year 1848 drew near, the well-known year of the revolution. 
I was hearing at the same time about the emigration to America; then, too, 
the Church in Austria and Germany was being greatly hampered in her 
movements. Moreover, as was already said, I knew by experience the im- 
measurable blessings of missions for the people. Accordingly I wrote to, the 
General, Father Roothaan, and informed him that while I was ready to go 
anywhere in the world if he so willed it, I would still petition him for an 
appointment to America, there to give missions to the people. 14 

Father Weninger had his wish, going to America in 1848 with en- 
couragement from Father Roothaan, the General, to pursue there his 

14 F. X. Weninger, S.J., Errinerungen aus Melner Lei en m Euro fa und, 
Atnerika dwch acbtzig jahre 1805 bis 1885, 1 : 16. (A). Weninger's Errinerungen 
ire unpublished. Sketches of his career are in Central Blatt and Social Justice (St. 
Louis), June-December, 1927, and WL> 18:43-68 (1889). 


career of missionary-preacher. Assigned with his companion on the 
journey from Europe, Father Christopher Genelli, to the Missouri 
Vice-province, he was first employed as a professor of dogmatic theology 
in St. Xavier's College, Cincinnati, where in the intervals of teaching 
a few scholastics were pursuing their studies in divinity. As early as 
December, 184.8, at Oldenburg in Indiana he gave his first mission in 
the United States. A glowing notice of it signed by the Oldenburg 
pastor appeared in the Cincinnati Wahrheitsfreund: 

On December 8, on the feast, accordingly, of the "Immaculate Concep- 
tion," the mission at Oldenburg opened with a solemn procession in the newly 
built church; it lasted until December 18, ten days and a half. Not a single 
Catholic who attended the mission failed to go to confession. People came 
here from a distance of 15, 18 and 20 miles and even farther, some of them 
starting on the way with horse and wagon at two in the morning so as not to 
lose anything of the mission. Though the missionary preached three times daily 
and even four times, including the talk at communion, he all along drew 
tears of repentance and consolation from the eyes of his hearers. Often there 
was general sobbing and weeping throughout the church. One of the most 
telling sermons was at the solemn reparation before the Blessed Sacrament; 
but even more stirring was the renewal of the baptismal vows and most 
stirring of all the parting sermon. Oh God, the very thought of it brings tears 
to my eyes! Parting in the new house of God, parting at the cemetery, part- 
ing at the foot of the great mission-cross where from fifteen to sixteen 
hundred voices cried out together to heaven: "live Jesus!" "live Jesus and 
Mary!" "long live the Church!" "long live the holy cross!" "Jesus, no more 
sin!" One must indeed have had a heart of stone not to be moved by such a 
display of feeling. I close with the wish that every German settlement in 
North America may share the same happiness of a regular mission, which is 
the only thing that can effect in a few days a basic and thoroughgoing re- 
newal of spirit in a parish and one that will last for a long time ; for such a 
regular mission so-called retreats are no substitute. In a regular mission the 
people are instructed and reconciled to God, one class after another, and this 
produces general and lasting fruit. May the Lord's blessing preserve this fruit 
and increase it richly in my dear parish of Oldenburg. 15 

Similar striking results attended a mission given in Fort Wayne, 
Indiana, in the fall of 1849. The account of it which follows bears the 
name of the pastor of the local German congregation, Reverend Edward 

Pursuant to an announcement in your esteemed paper of the previous 
week, the Catholics of Fort Wayne had the unspeakable happiness of enjoy- 
ing a regular mission under the sound direction of the Rev. F. X* Wcninger. 

15 Idem, 1:45. What the writer understands by "retreats" he explains in his 
account (infra) of the method followed by him in conducting missions. 


Only one who has attended such a mission can form any idea of the happy 
results that follow from it. ... 

How consoling, thought I to myself, as I read the account of the mission 
of Oldenburg. How clean of heart the good people of Oldenburg must be, 
among whom the holy mission has done such great and almost incredible 
good. But greater things still have probably taken place in Fort Wayne. Who 
could have believed that the faithful of the vicinity would get up at midnight 
so as to be present at the first Mass with Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament 
at half past six? What an impressive sight to behold the clouds of dust on the 
roads stirred up by the crowds of people hurrying to church from a distance of 
eight to ten and even twenty-five miles! Who could remain unmoved to see 
during the sermons of the distinguished preacher, sometimes four in number, 
tears of contrition glistening on the faces of the most hard-hearted, persons 
who perhaps had neglected their religious duties for years. At the instructions 
given to the various classes [men, women, and others] it became evident for 
the first time how numerous is the Catholic population of Fort Wayne. At 
the conclusion of the mission as also on Monday the entire parish went in 
procession from the old common church, now the English one, to the newly 
built German church of brick. It was an impressive spectacle as the great 
throng with the processional cross at its head and with recitation of the rosary 
and the pealing of the bells of both churches moved towards the newly 
erected church. 10 

Father Weninger was now launched on the full tide of his mis- 
sionary career. The energy with which he pursued his calling is sug- 
gested by a bare recital of the localities in which he preached missions 
during the three years, 1849, 1850 an d 1851. The list includes Cincin- 
nati, O,, Louisville, Ky., Munster, Brookville and Fort Wayne, Ind., 
Wapakoneta, Chillicothe, Massillon, Canton, Portsmouth, Hamilton, 
White Oak, Lancaster, O., New Westphalia, St. Louis, New Bremen, 
Mo., Belleville, 111., Cleveland, O., Chicago, 111., Milwaukee, Wis., 
Port Washington, Wis., Sheboygan, Mich., Green Bay, Manitowoc, 
Burlington, Wis., Quincy, 111., Washington and Herman, Mo. At the 
beginning of 1852 he was in New Orleans and on the occasion o this, 
his first visit to the South, preached a mission to a congregation of slaves 
recruited from three Louisiana plantations. Before Father Weninger's 
missionary labors came to an end hardly a town of any size between 
the Atlantic and Pacific had been left unvisited. 

An incident occurring in Buffalo in 1855 points to the reputation 
enjoyed by Father Weninger at this time when he had been only six 
years on the American missions. The trustees of St. Louis's Church in 
Buffalo, having shown themselves recalcitrant to ecclesiastical authority, 

16 Idem, l : 54. It is not improbable that the accounts of the Oldenberg and 
Fort Wayne missions were from Weninger's own hand; their perfervid tone seems 
to suggest this. 


were excommunicated by the Right Rev. John Timon, bishop of the 
diocese, while the church itself was placed under an interdict. The 
trouble grew out of an attempt by the trustees to manage the tem- 
poralities of the church independently of the Bishop. In 1854 Bishop 
Timon was present at the definition in Rome by Pius IX of the dogma 
of the Immaculate Conception. At the very moment that the Holy 
Father pronounced the words of the decree, he cast his eyes in spirit 
on the Virgin Mother, so he afterwards informed Father Weninger, 
and recommended to her his schismatic congregation of St. Louis. 
Immediately on his return to Buffalo the Bishop invited Father 
Weninger to conduct a mission for the misguided parishioners in the 
hope that his zealous intervention might heal the schism. Father 
Weninger accepted his task, "the hardest in all my missionary experi- 
ence," but stipulated that the interdict be first removed. Bishop Timon 
agreed to this, publishing a formal notice to that effect: 

Buffalo, May 18, 1855. 

The pious, learned and zealous Missionary, Father Weninger (wishing 
to labor for the salvation of souls in the only German church of this diocese 
which has not yet heard his noble and truly Christian eloquence), requests me 
to withdraw the interdict from the church of St. Louis and the excommunica- 
tion from the trustees. I can refuse nothing to the worthy priest of God; 
consenting, therefore, to his request, I hereby declare that the excommunica- 
tion will cease as soon as the holy Triduan [triduum] in St. Louis church 
will begin. John, Bishop of Buffalo. 

The efforts of Father Weninger on this occasion to heal the breach 
between the schismatic congregation and its ecclesiastical superior appear 
to have been on the whole successful though the embers of the contro- 
versy smouldered for many years after. 17 

At first Father Weninger addressed German congregations only 5 
later, he conducted missions also in English. In the case of mixed con- 
gregations it was his custom to deliver four sermons daily in the lan- 
guage of each nationality, in English and German, or in English and 
French. If all three nationalities were before him, he gave the same 
sermon three times over in the three languages, and this four times a 
day. The sermons were necessarily short to bring this formidable pro- 
gram within the range of physical possibility. Though his English was 
notably defective, his intense zeal and enthusiasm made a deep im- 
pression on his hearers, who after hearing him preach in the vernacular, 
came in great numbers to the sacraments. A computation, made in 1879, 
when he was seventy-four years of age and was still possessed of re- 

17 C. G. Deuther, The Life an<l Times of Right Rev. John Timon, .., 
First Roman Catholic Bishof of the Diocese of Buffalo (Buffalo, 1870), p* 21 r* 


markable vigor, revealed that he had conducted in thirty-one years over 
eight hundred missions 5 preached thirty thousand times 5 made between 
two thousand and three thousand converts 5 and journeyed over two 
hundred thousand miles. "In all that time he never met with a serious 
accident 5 his voice never failed him 3 and his strength was unimpaired 
though he never accommodated either his clothing or his manner of life 
to change of season or climate." 1S 

Father Weninger left on record the method which he followed in 
conducting his remarkable missions: 19 

18 M enology of the Missouri. Province (St. Louis, 1925). (A). "On Sunday 
March ist Rev. F. Weninger, the great missionary and writer in German, begins 
a mission in our church, here [St. Xavier's, Cincinnati]. We hope and trust that 
his English, which is poor, will not prevent the usual results of such missions for 
he is a saint in appearance and very deed." Swagers a Deynoodt, Feb. 27, 1874. 
Archives of the North Belgian Province, S.J. 

19 W L, 18:60 et seq. (1889). "Now since 14 years I continually am giving 
Missions in the woods as well as in the metropolis going to every chapel, no matter 
how many families there are. In the course of the year I am preaching over 1000 
times every year, because I have to preach in a single week about 50 times. If in 
German alone about 25 times. There are heard at the Missions about 25-30 
thousand general confessions every year and received more or less about 100 
Protestants. Consequently I received during these Missions about 1400 protestant 
families to the church, not comprising the children in that number which are 
saved for Catholic education in mixed marriages, whose number is incredibly large. 
Many hundred Mission Crosses design [designate?] those places where I was 
giving Missions from the shores of the Atlantic and the Mexican Gulf to the 
height of the Alleghanys and the quarries of Dacotah Territory." Weninger to 
De Smet, September 15, 1862. (A). 

Several appearances of what was reputed to be a miraculous crcfss took place in 
connection with Father Weninger's missions, two of them at Gutteriburg, Iowa, 
1853 and 1856, and one at Alpcna, Michigan, 1858. Father Marco, pastor of St. 
Mary's Church at Grand Rapids, Michigan, made a written statement under date 
of September 12, 1858, concerning the Alpcna apparition. He said in part: "At 
this solemnity an extraordinary event occurred; for as soon as the holy cross had 
been dedicated and was about being raised, there appeared on the blue sky, sur- 
rounded by a cluster of light clouds, a regularly formed, large, white and well 
designed cross, which disappeared at the moment the missionary cross was sunk 
in the ground. The whole crowd present gazed with amazement at this striking 
appearance and you could hear persons most difficult [slow? ] to believe utter 
these words: 'This is more than natural!'" (A). Father Marco later took oath 
that he had seen the cross and seventy-one of his parishioners signed a statement 
under date of December 6, 1861, to the same effect (Missour. 6-XXVII, 71). 
Father Weninger himself drew up for the General an account of seven such 
apparitions under the caption, De apf&ritiombus $. Cruets aliisque extraorttinariis 
signis occasions erectionis Crucis Missionis (Missour. 6-XXVII, 68). (AA). Testi- 
mony as to the one at Guttcnburg was taken by the local pastor, Reverend Henry 
Rensen on January 8, 1854 (Missour. 6-XXVII, 70). For an informing account 
of the Guttenburg case, see M. M. Hoffman, "A Miracle in Mid-America?" in 
Mid-America (1931), 14:57-63. 


The principal thing to be noted is that the missions which I conducted 
are not to be confounded with the [open] retreats. In the latter one simply 
delivers sermons or gives instructions for three, five or eight days, twice a day, 
and in the meantime allows the people to prepare for confession, without 
preparing the different classes of people according to their various states of 
life. I myself gave such retreats in Europe in the places in which I was teach- 
ing. It is true that by these retreats much good is often accomplished, but 
they do not result in such a thorough regeneration of a congregation that 
each class of the parishioners may profit. This regeneration consists rather in 
a thorough instruction of each portion of the congregation: married men and 
married women, young men and young women, and children. For this 
purpose, instructions adapted to these particular states, separate confessions for 
the different classes, and general Communions at stated times, are of im- 
measurable utility. In the first place, there is in an invitation to a sermon 
meant for a particular state in life something specially attractive, which induces 
the members of these respective classes to come willingly to these separate 
conferences. This is especially so in the case of young men and married men 
who have neglected the practice of their religion or who have almost given 
it up. In the second place, you can never in the presence of one class of 
hearers, recall to their consideration, at least fully and circumstantially and 
with a view to their fulfilment, any or all of their specific duties, without 
inviting the criticism of the other classes of the congregation. In the third 
place, this parcelling out of the congregation provides also for the practicabil- 
ity and certainty of confession. The missionary is enabled, in this way, to place 
before a whole class the points upon which these particular members of the 
parish are to examine and accuse themselves, and the confessor will thus 
perhaps rid himself of much of his otherwise superfluous labor. Besides, with 
this method, there is much less dissipation of mind and more earnestness dis- 
played by all classes. ... By it the missionary holds the reins of the whole 
mission in his own hands. However I do not give this plan as a rule for other 
missionaries 5 it will overtax the ordinary strength of most preachers. What 
surprises me, although it was the holy will of God, is that God gave me the 
strength necessary to carry out such a plan for thirty-seven years. 

As regards the number of times one is to preach, I myself gave ordinarily 
two set sermons, one of these class-conferences and an address, thus preach- 
ing four times a day. When, as was frequently the case, the congregation was 
a mixed one, of English, German or French, I had to preach eight times a 
day, or upwards of sixty times in eight days. If it happened that all three 
nationalities were present in large numbers in a congregation, the leading 
points had to be put before each nationality. Then, of course, each sermon is 
considerably shorter, the three taking an hour and a half. Such a mission, in 
the three languages, is very taxing upon the missionary, but the effect is far 
greater than when a special mission is given to each nationality. 

What rektes to the matter of the sermons, the instructions to the various 
classes of exercitants, the address, the solemnities to be observed, together with 
the whole conduct of the mission, I have embraced in my three volumes 


entitled respectively, The Mission, The Renewal of the Mission, and Practical 
Hints. The solicitude to be exerted for the continuance of the fruit of the 
mission after it has closed, and the practical working of its effects, I have 
minutely dwelt upon in the Practical Hints. To this end, the erection of 
sodalities for the various classes in the parish, the visiting of the mission cross, 
and, above all, a care to provide fitting books for family reading and in 
keeping with the mission, books that will prove useful for home reading and 
self-instruction, help very efficaciously. There is no dearth of good books I 
know, but I speak here of the spread of those books which suit precisely the 
chief need of the faithful nowadays and particularly in America. 

For, first of all, the faithful everywhere, but especially in America, should 
clearly understand, and be in a condition to instruct others, that there is but 
one religion revealed by God and that there is but one church founded by 
Christ, viz.: the first Christian Church, the Roman Catholic Church, which 
is the only saving Church. They should know, in this way, that there are not 
as many kinds of churches as there are Christian denominations that believe 
in Christ, but that those only are, in the full meaning of the word, Christians, 
who recognize themselves as children of that church which Christ founded. 
Furthermore, every Catholic should also be in a condition to give a satis- 
factory answer and explanation to every objection brought against the teach- 
ing of the Church. To aid them in this, I wrote the work entitled, Catholicity, 
Protestantism and, Infidelity. 

Secondly, all the faithful should be so instructed in the doctrines of the 
Catholic Church that they can, in turn, teach every one that the doctrine 
which they, as children of the Catholic Church, are obliged to believe, was 
taught from the earliest days of Christianity, and is in keeping with the teach- 
ings of Holy Writ and the tradition of the Fathers. 

Thirdly, every Catholic should be intimately persuaded, that to attain to 
salvation, it will not alone suffice that our faith be orthodox, but our lives 
also must be conformed to Christ, and we must constantly advance in his 
knowledge and love. Now, next to a thorough grounding in the doctrine of 
the Church, .nothing more effectually conduces to this than the devotion to 
the Sacred Heart of Jesus. It was to foster this devotion that I wrote the 
Sacred Heart Mission Book. 

Fourthly, Catholics must believe without any admixture of error in their 
faith; hence they should admit the infallible teaching authority of the head 
of the Church. In fact, fundamental instruction upon this point has become 
a matter of paramount importance for Catholics since the definition of the 
Vatican Council. The young, in particular, need this instruction, that the 
silly raillery of the enemy may not lead them into error. To supply a copious 
source of instruction for all upon this doctrine, I published The Infallibility 
of the Pofe in defining Matters of Faith. 

Fifthly, the whole tendency of Catholic life is directed heavenwards. 
What is heaven? The answer to this important question I have given in my 
Easter in Heaven. 

Sixthly, are there any of the faithful who have already secured for them- 


selves the blessedness of paradise? Yes; the saints have secured the happiness 
of heaven for all eternity. Who are the saints and what were they? I have 
answered this question in my Lives of the Saints. Here, to a short account of 
their lives, I have in each instance appended a brief exhortation to their 
imitation and indicated methods of actually profiting by their example. 

In addition to these works I published a series of three catechisms for 
ordinary and for more advanced students of the Catholic doctrine. 

These seven works constitute a small house-library; and, when giving 
missions, I have exerted myself, as I always do, so far as to prevail upon the 
families attending the mission exercises to secure all these works. I withdraw 
from my labors with the reflection: "What more, dear people, can I do for 
all of you or any one of you, than I have done; what greater solicitude am I 
capable of exhibiting for the future welfare of any and of all of you?" 

The unusual display of religious fervor attending Father Weninger's 
initial efforts in the missionary field was more or less typical of the long 
series of parochial revivals associated with his name. All through his 
career bishops and priests came forward to render spontaneous testi- 
mony to the striking results of his ministry. Father James Rolando, a 
Lazarist, after a mission given by the Jesuit in St. Vincent's Church, 
St. Louis, wrote of him that he was "an outstanding example of the 
virtues, especially of humility, meekness, ardent zeal ... a man be- 
loved of God and men . . . powerful in word and work." Father 
Murphy, in citing the Lazarist's letter, comments: "Letters to the same 
effect are sent me from every quarter ... let that one suffice for the 
many." 20 Said Bishop Loras of Dubuque in 1853: "The good he 
has done to his compatriots is immense. I hope it will be lasting seeing 
that he has left wise regulations behind him in every parish. . . . 
Father Weninger's disinterestedness has been remarked and it has lent 
not a little force to his words. He has constantly refused all gifts in 
money offered him by the Germans, adding that he came not to make 
money but to gain souls." "Not in vain," Father Krautbauer, pastor of 
St. Peter's Church, Rochester, N. Y., wrote in 1854, "does Father 
Weninger claim St. Xavier as patron and bear his name; for he is 
indeed the Xavier of Germany in America." 21 The missionary's work 
during the single year, 1853, ^ Father Gleizal to comment on it in 
a letter to the General: 

From January i, 1853 up to January i, 1854, Father Weninger, who 
works the whole year round without respite, has evangelized 5 dioceses and 
27 parishes; has given 32 missions; planted 32 crosses; heard 30,000 con- 

20 Murphy ad Roothaan, March 28, 1852. (AA). 

21 Loras a Murphy, December 22, 1853; Krautbauer ad Murphy, April 4, 
1854.. (AA). 


fessions; preached 900 sermons, converted 50 Protestants; and given a clergy 
retreat. It must be remarked that the confessions which he has heard are 
almost all general, half of them being confessions of men. Moreover, most of 
the men would soon have lost the faith without the aid of the missions. The 
good, therefore, which he has done is simply incalculable. The unremitting 
labor to which he gives himself up is in my eyes a prodigy. Never in all my 
life have I seen so much work achieved in so short a time and by a single 
man. Judge by this of what could be done in our position if only we had the 
work of the missions a little more at heart. 22 

In 1859 Bishop Odin of Galveston witnessed to Father Weninger's 
missionary success in Texas: 

Last Monday, July the 25th, Rev. Father Weninger closed his missionary 
labors in the diocese of Galveston. He arrived here on the loth of March and 
from that moment until now, his exertions for the salvation of souls have 
been incessant and most arduous. He has given missions in Galveston, Hous- 
ton, Victoria, San Antonio, Costro-ville, D'haws, Fredricksburg, New 
Braunspels, Austin, Ross Prairie, Frelsberg and Bernard. Everywhere his 
labors have been crowned with the most consoling success. Oh, how many 
poor sinners have been reconciled to a God whom they had long forgotten, 
how many have been awakened from their deep lethargy and brought back 
to a sense of their religious duties! Even our separated brethren have been 
much edified and benefited by his pious instructions. Several of them through 
his ministry have had the happiness to know and embrace our holy faith. His 
fatigues, privations and sufferings have been very great in our poor Texas, 
but like the Apostle he delights to be deemed worthy to suffer for the sake 
of his divine master. We may truly say of this indefatigable successor of the 
apostles, transiit benejaciendo. I will never be able to return to God sufficient 
thanks for all the good he has done in Texas. He carries with him my most 
sincere gratitude, that of the clergy and of the faithful. May God reward 
him for the great services he has rendered to the diocese. 23 

In Father William Stack Murphy, vice-provincial of Missouri, 
Father Weninger found a superior of more than ordinary sympathy 
and insight. In his routine correspondence with the General Father 
Murphy had occasion at times to comment on the missionary's activi- 

22 . Gleizal a Beckx, February 20, 1854. (AA). It may have been GleizaPs 
statistical account that led Father Bcckx to bring Weninger's work to the notice 
of Pius IX. "For the consolation of your Reverence I add that on the 5th of this 
month I was received in audience by his Holiness and told him various things 
about your Reverence's work on the Missions, all which his Holiness was delighted 
to hear, I asked his Holiness at the end to give your Reverence his special blessing, 
which he clid with the greatest cordiality." Beckx ad Weninger, April 8, 1854. 

28 Odin to Druyts, July 28, 1859. (A). 


ties. The comment was uniformly appreciative, often warmly so, though 
he was equally frank in setting down whatever strictures were passed 
on the energetic missionary's methods. Thus, when Father Weninger 
showed himself somewhat unobservant of certain regulations in regard 
to the publication of books by members of the Society, Father Murphy 
wrote to the Father General: 

He is not so ready, after the manner of authors, to suffer a check to be 
put upon his pen. The fourth edition is now being issued of his splendid work, 
de Vitis Sanctorum [Lives of the Saints], originally printed in Germany; it 
is bought and read with astonishing eagerness. He is extremely popular 
everywhere as a missionary. The Bishops call for him on all sides. He is of 
the greatest assistance to the clergy during their retreats; but he seems to 
displease a bit as he catechizes them and treats them as if they were ignorant. 
I really don't know whether he is wrong here as many of them are without 
instruction and without knowledge of essential things that pertain to the 
priesthood. As to Ours, they complain that he does not take a companion and 
is unwilling to work with his own brethren; to whom his usual reply is that 
he does not find any one to work with him harmoniously and steadily in the 
vineyard of the Lord. A really great man and yet human. It would be more 
perfect [in him], if I mistake not, were he to act and judge in a different 
way; and yet I should not wish to restrain or hamper so unusual a worker, 
who perhaps is not to blame. Moreover, he says it would be difficult to meet 
the expense if two went together. 24 

Further comments of Father Murphy on Weninger are met with in 
letters of 1861 and 1862: 

Father Weninger has lately brought out an excellent work in English, a 
Manual of Christian Doctrine, to which Bishop Lucrs has given the most 
cordial indorsement in writing. One of the Redemptorists (an Irishman) told 
me that among them [Germans] he enjoys the highest reputation for labor 
and piety but that in their opinion he dispatches his missions too quickly, an 
opinion shared also by our German Fathers. This peculiarity results chiefly 
from the fact that he is practically alone [on the missions]. Father Damen 
adds in regard to him that owing to the excessive expenses he incurs for 
decorations and music, he is a burden on the poorer parishes and for this 
reason in some places receives no invitation to return and in others is not 
invited at all. . . . Recently he brought out in Cincinnati a golden book, 
Protestantism and Infidelity. Another edition is being prepared, with improve 1 " 
ments here and there by our Cincinnati folk,' perhaps at the suggestion of 
some of the bishops lately assembled there in Council The style is being given 
a more English flavor, for it "Germanized" [Germanizabat] in places. There 
is a certain candor and attractiveness about the book with arguments and 
facts right to the point and all graphically put. He declares that he will 

24 Murphy ad B&kx, April 24, 1856. (AA). 


circulate as many as 100,000 copies. A bold thing to say and yet not rash or 
ridiculous in the mouth of this man. 25 

Father Weninger was apparently not free from what in the language 
of religious orders are called "singularities." No caution is more fre- 
quently insisted upon in the spiritual training their members undergo 
than to beware of departures from that normal manner of procedure 
according to the religious rule which is recognized to be a guarantee 
of correct and sane behavior. And yet, while the caution is a wise and 
even necessary one, the fact remains that even canonized saints of 
the Church have been known to show certain idiosyncrasies or oddities 
of deportment which are by no means to be made an object of conscious 
imitation by others. So in the case of Father Weninger $ while there 
could be no question of his genuine personal virtue and tremendous 
zeal, there were certain mannerisms or peculiarities of his, for instance 
his inability or reluctance, whatever it was, to share his ministerial labors 
with a companion, that the Society of Jesus would consider reprehensible 
in its average type of missionary. "He is accounted a saint," Father 
Sopranis said of him in 18605 "a veritable model in zeal and union 
with God." But there was noted in him, the Visitor went on to say, 
"a certain independence of superiors and several things not according 
to the rule and spirit of the Society. . . . He publishes [books] with- 
out submitting them to censorship." And in replying to the Visitor on 
this head, Father Beckx himself observed: "He [Weninger] is singu- 
larly gifted. . . . The Lord's blessing on his activities is a generous one. 
But he is a man sm generis, for he does not a few things which in him 
perhaps are harmless or even good, but which ought not to be tolerated 
in others." 26 

A practice of Father Weninger which elicited unfavorable comment 
for a while was that of selling his own books on the missions with a 
view to providing the faithful with reading-matter of a religious nature 
which otherwise they could not so easily procure. Father Ehrensberger 
in 1851 protested against "this good, nay saintly Father's praising of 
his own books so loudly on the missions. He carries around with him 
and sells whole boxes of his Leben der Heiligen and Liebesbund. 
Certainly he has nothing else in view but to do spiritual good. He him- 
self will get nothing out of it in the way of temporal gain. Still there 
are everywhere malicious persons . . . who slander him." In February, 

2C Murphy ad Beckx, March 24, 1861; Murphy a Beckx, February 21, 1862. 

20 Sopranis a Beckx, November 17, 1860; Beckx ad Sopranis, December 14, 
i860. (AA). "Multa scribit, set forum castigata in lucem efot? Beckx ad O'Neil, 
Oct. 2, 1874. (A). 


1852, Father Weninger explained his conduct to the General in regard 
to these two seeming counts against him, namely, that he advertised 
his own books lavishly and laid himself open to suspicion of commer- 
cialism. Father Murphy followed shortly with these lines to the 

Father Weninger renders an account to your Paternity of what concerns 
his books. Fathers Spicher, Goeldlin, and Wippern find that what he does 
in this connection is, so to say, absolutely necessary and that immense and 
lasting good results therefrom without the inconveniences that might occur in 
Europe. The Archbishop [of St. Louis] has pleaded with me to give a free 
hand in everything to a man so eminently apostolic, and esteemed, too, so 
highly by Bishop Henni of Milwaukee. Ours say that it would be difficult to 
be his companion, but that the priests and faithful admire everything he does. 
I except Father Patschowski, who judges of the matter quite otherwise, and 
perhaps one or two others. I await the decision of your Paternity. 27 

At a later period Father Weninger was required by the Father 
General to discontinue the practice of selling his own books on the 
missions. While there were presumedly circumstances which rendered 
the practice inadvisable, the missionary no doubt had the right idea as 
to the importance of good popular literature of a religious nature in 
the divine warfare of the Church. In his "Relation" of 1862-1863 he 
undertook to show "how efficacious a means for the salvation of souls is 
to be found in the circulation of good books." Of the favorable recep- 
tion given his own books one or other instance has already been given. 
His Lives of the Saints reached its fourth edition in 1856; his Devotion 
to the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary went through four editions in 
nine months 5 his Epitome Pastorale met with the approval of the 
bishops j his Protestantism and Infidelity reached a sale of 30,000 copies 
by 1862, the fourth German and seventh English edition of the book 
appearing in 1863. "Although rather superficial in its character," says 
a contemporary estimate in Italian, probably from Father Sopranis, "it 
is doing great good among Protestants of ordinary education, a result 
which must be attributed as much to the sanctity and prayers of its very 
zealous author as to the intrinsic merits of the book." Whatever income 
accrued to Father Weninger from the sale of his books was applied by 
him to some pious or philanthropic cause. Thus, in 1869, he sent Father 
Beckx six hundred and twenty-nine dollars to be distributed among poor 
priests. 28 Father Weninger's published works as listed in, SommervogePs 

27 Murphy a Beckx, March 3, 1852. (AA). 

28 Beckx ad Weninger, August 29, 1869. (AA). Father Weninger was active in 
promoting the canonization (1888) of Peter Clavcr, "saint of the slave-trade." 
A series of striking cures which he obtained by applying relics of the holy Jesuit 


Bibliotheque de la Compagnie de Jesus number forty-seven in German, 
sixteen in English, either translations or original productions, three in 
Latin and eight in French, besides several elaborate pieces of sacred 

Father Weninger's active missionary career was continued up to 
within a few years of his death, which occurred at Cincinnati, June 29, 
1888. He had lived eighty-three years, of which fifty-six were spent in 
the Society of Jesus. Of the various influences that went to the saving of 
the faith of the German Catholic immigrant in the United States during 
the past century, the labors, whether in the pulpit or with the pen, 
of this Americanized Austrian had a highly important place. 


The German Catholic immigrants of the nineteenth century found 
themselves for years after their arrival in the United States in anything 
but a satisfactory position as concerned their religious well-being. 
German-speaking priests were few in number, while many of those 
actually in the ministry were lacking in energy and zeal or otherwise 
not of the type which the circumstances required. A letter of Father 
Ehrensberger to the General, dated from Cincinnati, November 30, 
1851, presents a detailed and searching survey of the situation. On the 
whole the condition of the German Catholic immigrants was a distress- 
ing one especially in the rural districts. Those residing in the larger 
towns, "receive at least sufficient service, . . . pastors, schools, rather 
nice churches, etc. But a, considerable part of them live in the back- 
woods where, separated for the most part from one another, they culti- 
vate the land. For this particular section of the Lord's vineyard barely 
one or other priest is available. There is great scarcity of German 
priests, most of them preferring the more comfortable life of the big 
cities." Moreover, heretics and perverse men were making efforts to 
turn the Germans aside from the true faith and as a consequence many 

included the two which were accepted by the Congregation of Rites in Rome as 
truly miraculous and used accordingly for the saint's canonization. The principals 
in these two miraculous cures (described in the Decree of Canonization) were 
Barbara Drcssen of Milwaukee and Ignatius Strecker of St. Louis. "When called 
to the witness-stand, I testified that I had imposed the relics and that cures con- 
stantly happened." Weninger's own account (dated, Cincinnati, Feb. 26, 1888) 
of his devotion to Claver and the numerous cures he was instrumental in working 
through the saint's intercession is in WL, 17: 106-9 (1888). The Ludwig-Missions- 
verein of Munich had the services of Father Weninger for many years as inter- 
mediary in the distribution of its alms to needy German parishes and institutions 
in the United States. His activities in this regard are recorded in Theodore Roemer, 
O.M.Cap., The Ludwig-Missionsverein and the Church In the United States, 
x8 38-1918 (Washington, 1934), pp. 92-103. 


of the latter were going over to the sects, especially the Methodists. 
"Even of those who do not abjure the faith, many die without the 
sacraments. The children are not instructed in the elements of Christian 
doctrine. For the most part they attend the 'government schools' to the 
great detriment and even loss of the faith." 29 

To meet the spiritual needs of the German Catholics in out-of-town 
localities, most of whom 'were engaged in farming, centrally situated 
residences as those of Washington and New Westphalia in Missouri, 
with their staff of resident pastors, were, no doubt, an important and 
even necessary factor and as such were more than justifying themselves. 
But something more seemed to be required at the moment 5 and this 
was a group of "itinerant" missionaries, not burdened with parochial 
duties, but free to visit the rural congregations and scattered knots of 
German settlers and do for them what Father Weninger was doing for 
the regularly organized congregations of cities and towns. This was 
an idea broached by Father Joseph Patschowski, pastor of St. Joseph's 
Church in Sk Louis, and he enlarged upon it in a communication to 
Father Roothaan, September 10, 1852. The General readily caught 
the idea, which appealed to him, and he wrote with his own hand on the 
margin of the Missourian's letter: "Utinam! Libenter tentabimus" 
("would we could do it! we shall gladly try"). Then came Father Root- 
haan's appeal to the superior at St. Louis to carry the plan into effect. 
"We have been written to concerning the remarkable fruit which mis- 
sionaries [going out] from a residence set up especially for this purpose 
could gather in among the settlers, especially the Germans, a fruit more 
abundant than what is reaped in the stations." 50 Father Murphy on his 
part was sympathetic to the proposal. "You recommend me to begin 
our little country missions. No one desires the work more than myself j 
but we need men. I hope that towards the end of the next summer we 
shall be able to make a little start. Good Father Patschowski has a 
great desire to be of the party, very likely he will get his wish." Father 
Patschowski, so Murphy thought, had a weak chest; this, he further 
stated, was certainly the case with Father Tschieder, whom the General 
suggested should be given a share in the undertaking. 31 

The plan proposed by Father Patschowski to the General was that 
of a centrally located residence, St. Joseph's in St. Louis for example, as 
headquarters for two fathers to be employed steadily in giving so-called 
country missions. The harvest in prospect was great, especially in the 
diocese of Chicago. "How many people living more or less at a distance 
in woods and fields can see a priest scarcely once a year and if they see 

29 Ehrensberger ad Roothaan, November 30, 1851. (AA), 

80 Roothaan ad Murphy, November 9, 1852. (AA). 

81 Murphy a Roothaan, April I, 1853. (AA). 


one they cannot understand his language! What a misery! What a 
dangerous situation especially in America where so many enemies are 
prowling about on all sides making every effort to pervert the Catho- 
lics." 32 The fall of 1853 saw the German rural missions finally set on 
foot. There were now four fathers attached to St. Joseph's in St. Louis, 
two for the parish and two for the new venture. Fathers Patschowski 
and Spicher, so the vice-provincial informed the General, were delighted 
with the new arrangement. "Fathers Patschowski and Ehrensberger 
gave their first 'itinerant' mission at Teutopolis, a German settlement 
in Illinois, where the pastor and the people did not get along. Harmony 
has been reestablished. It is natural enough for the Germans not to 
agree with foreign priests who do not understand their language; but 
it happens only too often that their compatriots also displease them. It 
is claimed that they wish to rule both pastor and parish, that they treat 
these last as hired hands who have need to be watched. The pastors 
find them defiant and exacting. Either the spirit of the country spoils 
them or the secret societies are working among them. At Buffalo at 
present there prevails a schism which Monsignor Bedini has not been 
able to put down. It is the quarrel in miniature of 'the priesthood and 
the empire.' But the Church will triumph in the long run." 33 

Unhappily the important work which promised so much for the 
German Catholic immigrants of the Middle West came to an abrupt 
end with the recall of many of the German-speaking Jesuits to Europe. 
Father Murphy had foreseen this difficulty even before the rural mis- 
sions were begun. "According to a letter from Reverend Father Faller 
[provincial of Upper Germany] there is question of his leaving again 
to all his subjects the choice of attaching themselves definitely to the 
Vice-province or of repatriating themselves. I am afraid the majority 
will decide to leave. In this case what will become of us? Where shall 
the residences and colleges stand? And as to the German missions 
which we must begin, they will be adjourned indefinitely. Father Faller 
promises us 'volunteers,' as he puts it; but time is needed to enable 
them to replace those who leave and who are more or less at home in 
the country and consequently very useful." 34 In December, 1853, 
Fathers Spicher and Ehrensberger were definitely recalled to Europe. 
"I regret that our little German missions," Father Murphy informed 
the newly elected General, Peter Beckx, "find themselves, as a conse- 
quence, stopped at the very beginning of the work. . . . However the 
matter may be arranged, it would be bad grace for me to complain in 

82 Patschowski ad Roothaan, April 13, 1853. (AA). 

88 Murphy a Beckx, 1853. (AA). 

8 * Murphy a Roothaan, April I, 1853. (AA). 


view of all that Germany has done for America and will, so I hope, 
continue to do in the future." 35 

In the event the preaching of rural missions, Father Patschowski's 
own plan for saving the faith of the scattered German settlers, was not 
resumed by the midwestern Jesuits. He himself died prematurely in 
1859 an d at the period of his demise does not seem to have been em- 
ployed in this particular occupation. The problem all along was to find 
German-speaking priests. The Missouri Vice-province itself counted 
few such and these or most of them were needed to serve the numerous 
German parishes organized by the Jesuits in St. Louis and in Osage 
and Franklin Counties, Missouri. As to the exiled members of the 
province of Upper Germany domiciled in the West since 1848, they 
were subject to recall at any time by their superior and could not be 
counted upon for permanent service. "The men of the Vice-Province," 
said Father Murphy in 1853, "find that we are doing a great deal for 
the Germans." It is true that he withdrew Fathers Weber and Kalcher 
from Ohio 5 but this was a necessary measure. 

When I asked the Archbishop of St. Louis to take Washington where 
the Society would turn over to him a fine piece of property, he answered me 
that he needed five German priests for places which are entirely abandoned. 
The residence of New Westphalia, which is Father Ehrcnsberger's, is merely 
the center of a batch of little stations, so that Ours are always out in the 
country. It is the same with Washington and with Father Brunner, who is 
evangelizing an entire district in Wisconsin, where by this time lie has built 
his seventh church. I say nothing of Father Weninger or of the little Gallo- 
Germanic mission [Loose Creek] of Father Goeldlin. There are five German 
parishes in this city [St. Louis] ; the one in which piety reigns supreme is St. 
Joseph's, served by Fathers Patschowski and Seisl. The Archbishop, it is 
maintained, would readily take it in charge; but we shall always need a 
German church, if only to occupy some of Ours who would not fit in well 
elsewhere. 86 

It was perhaps human on the part of the fathers in charge of the 
German parishes, eager to obtain additional help if it were at all 
possible, to make complaint at times that the German Catholics were 
being slighted. The matter has already been touched upon. It suffices 
here to cite the words of Father Gleizal written in 1858 to Father 

Catalogue in hand I see in the Vice-Province 3 colleges. Now the Ger- 
mans are admitted to them just as the Americans and treated in the same 
way. We have two churches in St. Louis; one for the Americans [English- 

85 Murphy a Beckx, December 8, 1856. (AA). 
86 Murphy a Pierling, March 4, 1854. (AA). 


speaking Catholics], the other for the Germans. We have 5 out-of-town 
missions or residences; of these 5, three are German. Of the 12 missionaries 
employed out of town, 8 are occupied in taking care of the Germans. We 
have no American missionary, I refer to oferarn excurrentes, for missions, 
retreats, etc. We have three for the German population and one of them is 
occupied all year with these missions. 37 In view of these facts it seems to me 
it is impossible to say that we are neglecting the Germans. 38 

What concerned the Father General most of all was that nothing 
resembling even remotely national feeling or prejudice should be 
allowed to creep into the situation. "Would that Ours at least/' he 
wrote in 1855 to Father De Smet, "might keep far from them the 
so-called spirit of nationality, a spirit utterly opposed to the spirit of 
Christ and of the Society." 39 Happily there never was any serious 
problem on this score among the Jesuits of the West, who with all 
their diversified strains of blood managed to work together with remark- 
able unity of feeling and suppression of undue national or racial 


The success which Father Weninger was meeting with in his "Volks- 
missionen" among the German parishes of the United States was the 
occasion that led to a similar ministry on behalf of the English-speaking 
parishes of the country. As far back as 1843 Father Murphy, then 
rector of St. Mary's College, Lebanon, Kentucky, was expressing to 
Father Roothaan the hope that something would eventually be done 
in this regard: "As to Kentucky I hope to see the day when we shall 
have two missionaires ambulants, who will go from town to town to set 
forth the dogmas of the faith. One always succeeds in this country when 
after the manner of St. Francis de Sales nothing more is done than set 
forth and prove Catholic belief without even mentioning heresy, the 
more so as this people is less Protestant than Catholic." 40 One need 
not acquiesce in Father Murphy's estimate of the religious attitude of 
the Kentuckians of his day to recognize with him the value of the 
popular mission as a most effective instrument for the spread of the 
Gospel. Three years' experience of its use led Father Weninger to urge 
it upon Father Roothaan as an imperative need of the Church in the 
United States: 

Incredible would be the results if in every ecclesiastical Province of North 
America two of our Fathers conversant with English were to devote them- 

* 7 This was Father Weninger. 
**Gleizal a Beckx, October 4, 1855. (A). 
80 Bcckx ad De Smet, July 28, 1855. (AA). 
40 Murphy a Roothaan, July II, 1843. 


selves entirely to the giving of missions in all the dioceses. The Bishops every- 
where would wish for nothing better, for many thousands of Irish immigrants 
perish for lack of priests to take care of them. Here and there you find some 
who have not been to confession for 10, 12 and more years and who labor 
under the utmost ignorance in religious matters although as far as outward 
profession goes they cling with the greatest persistence to the Catholic faith. 41 

In the correspondence of the day addressed by Missouri Jesuits to 
general headquarters no point indeed was stressed more persistently 
than the need of these so-called parish missions. If the General could 
not supply the need, at least it was to be made clear to him that the 
need existed. Two letters received by Father Beckx in the opening 
month of 1854 are characteristic. Father Gleizal, always a keen observer 
of conditions and a skilful correspondent besides, touches off the situa- 
tion in these words: 

Another point which demands the attention of his Paternity not less than 
the preceding ones is the work of the missions ambulants not only for the 
Germans but especially for the Americans and the Irish. It is impossible to 
form an idea of the situation in the United States outside of the cities. The 
Catholics for want of priests to visit them lose the faith while their children 
for the most part are borne away by the torrent of infidelity. Even in the 
cities missions are quite necessary. The Redemptorists have realized this 
thoroughly; and so besides having a band of missionaries, very small, it is 
true, they have opened residences in nearly all the big cities. In this way they 
do an immense amount of good; they make themselves known and stimulate 
vocations, getting, as a matter of fact, many more subjects than we do. It is 
my opinion that two Fathers engaged just now on the missions would gain 
many souls for God and many subjects for the Society. The point I touch on 
here is often a subject of conversation with a great many of Ours and all 
express regret that nothing is being done along this line. Only lot the work 
of the colleges be simplified and it will be possible to make a beginning of the 
work of the missions for the Americans and the Irish. Bishop Mioge is of the 
opinion that I should communicate with your Paternity on this subject; lie 
thinks as I do that the work of the missions is the work of works, the more so 
as the Archbishop of St. Louis would be delighted to see the inception among 
us of a ministry which he desires with all his heart. 42 

A similar appeal was made by Father De Smet: 

Father Weninger accomplishes an incalculable amount of good by the 
many missions he gives in the different states. Sufficient proof of this will be 
found in the fruits which he gathered single-handed in the course of the past 

41 Weninger, Relatio, 1851. (A). 

42 Gleizal a Roothaan, January 20, 1842. (AA). "Missions mbulmtsf* i.e., 
literally "walking" or better "itinerant" missions. 


year, an account of which has perhaps reached your Paternity by this time. 
Fathers Ehrensberger and Patschowski had scarcely begun to give missions to 
their countrymen when the first was recalled by superiors to his own Prov- 
ince, a circumstance that must perforce check the good results of their worthy 
enterprise. It is much to be desired that we have missionary Fathers for the 
Irish and American Catholics as also for such as are desirous of becoming 
Catholics, a class very numerous in a large number of localities. 43 

In July of the same year, 1854, Father De Smet returned to the 
same theme in a letter to Father Cicaterri of Maryland: 

Our German missionaries are doing much good in Missouri and Illinois. 
Besides the apostolic F. Weninger, so blessed by heaven, there are three 
Fathers appointed to give missions in German through the country, and as 
they know English sufficiently, they attend to others [non-Germans] occa- 
sionally. Last year F. Gleizal directed the clerical retreat of Milwaukee and 
he has just finished that of Louisville. Dr. O'Regan [who is] to be conse- 
crated next Tuesday Bishop of Chicago, spent ten days in retreat under the 
same good Father. We are impatiently looking forward to the time when we 
shall have a body of Missionaries for American Catholics. . . . This we also 
recommend to your good prayers. 44 

Ardent Father Weninger on his part kept on urging the matter 
with increasing vehemence. "And if St. Francis Xavier," he exclaims in 
a letter of May, 1858, to Father Beckx, "was unable to understand with 
what conscience the Doctors of the Sorbonne could live in comfort in 
Paris while so many souls in the Indies were in the meantime going to 
hell, who, I ask, will understand how it comes about that so many 
Fathers here in the colleges are teaching boys Algebra and performing 
chemical experiments for them while at the same time before their very 
eyes numbers of souls are being driven headlong down the way of perdi- 
tion? . . . We must indeed do the one thing and not omit the other. 
Colleges are necessary and most excellent things j but they are not what 
is chiefly and much less what is exclusively needed in the present con- 
dition of things in this country ." 4C 

In 1858 the long discussed project of missions for the English- 
speaking parishes finally began to get under way. Among the important 
matters to which the Second Provincial Council of Cincinnati, held in 
the spring of that year, gave its attention was that of parochial missions 
or retreats. On April 7 Bishop Spalding of Louisville wrote to Arch- 
bishop Purcell'of Cincinnati: 

48 De Smet I Becbe, February 25, 1854. (AA). 

44 De Smet to Cicaterri, July 23, 1854. (A). 

45 Weninger ad Bcckx, May 29, 1858. (AA). 


By the way our mission at the Cathedral preached by F. [Father] 
Smarius has succeeded beyond my most sanguine expectations. F. Smarius is 
a most effective and practical preacher and such Retreats do immense good. 
As the J. [esuits] seem now disposed to employ their Fathers in this good 
work I think it highly important that, as the Provincial [Druyts] is im- 
feditus [on account of deafness] one of his consultors appointed by him 
should represent the Order at our Council and I have made this suggestion 
to Fathers Smarius and Converse not doubting that you would ratify it. His 
advice will be important in the additional question on Missions. 

To Father Druyts in St. Louis Bishop Spalding wrote April 8 : 

As your infirmity of hearing will make it inconvenient or impossible for 
your Reverence to attend the Provincial Council in frofria ^ersona, I think 
it very important that one of your Consultors, puta, F. Verdin or F. De Smet 
should be appointed your proxy to represent the Society at the Council. I have 
already written to the Archbishop on the subject, and though I have not had 
time to hear from him I am confident he will be glad to avail himself of the 
suggestion; in fact, I take it upon myself to say that any Father whom you 
will so appoint will be more than welcome. The subject of retreats for the 
people and that of schools and education generally will be under discussion 
and it is very important that one of yours should be in attendance. 40 

In response to the invitation of the Bishop of Louisville, Father De 
Smet as representing the Missouri Vice-province was present at the 
council, which convened in Cincinnati, May 2, 1858, eight dioceses being 
represented. Among its recommendations was one that a mission be 
held from time to time in every parish of the ecclesiastical province. It 
commended the great good resulting from the missions conducted by 
certain fathers of the Missouri Vice-province and expressed a wish that 
additional fathers be employed in this promising field of labor. In the 
name of the council and at its instance, Bishop Rosecrans in a letter of 
May 8, 1858, officially conveyed to Father Druyts the wishes of the 
bishops. They were glad to open up the ecclesiastical province of Cin- 
cinnati to Jesuit missionary zeal, petitioning him to appoint four or 
five fathers for the work and forward their names to the metropolitan 
so that invitations might be received from the parishes. They further 
desired that Bishop Rosecrans express to Father Druyts the satisfaction 
of soul they lately felt over the fruits resulting from the missions which 
Father Smarius had conducted both in Cincinnati and in Louisville as 

46 Spalding to Purcell, April 7, 1858 (I), Spalding to Druyts, April 8, 
1858. (A). "If F. Provincial of Jesuits appoint a proxy, I beg you to welcome 
him at the Council." Spalding to Purcell, April 14, 1858, (CAA), Fathers 
Smarius, Converse and others who were giving missions at intervals at this period 
were not steadily engaged in this work but had other regular occupations. 


also the very lively hope they conceived that with his cooperation as 
well as with their own good will in his regard, such fruits might be mul- 
tiplied and scattered through the various congregations of the ecclesiasti- 
cal province entrusted to their care. At St. Louis Father Druyts's 
consultors were all of the opinion that the invitation from the bishops 
should be accepted. "We realize indeed," observed Father Druyts in 
reporting the matter to the General, "that we are not well prepared just 
now to give these missions, but who can look with indifference and 
without sorrow on the ruin of so many souls, as is happening according 
to the testimony of all our missionaries." Then, as a means of relieving 
the pressure caused by scarcity of men at this critical juncture, he asked 
the General for the privilege of shortening by some months the period 
of tertianship in the case of some of the fathers, particularly Damen, 
Smarius, Driscoll and Goeldlin. 47 

On May 20 Father Druyts signified to Archbishop Purcell of Cin- 
cinnati his readiness to comply with the wishes expressed by the council: 

We all feel grateful to your Grace and to the Rt. Rev. Bishops of the 
Province for the confidence reposed in our Fathers. For years past many of 
us have ardently desired to see some of us set apart for preaching retreats or 
giving missions wherever their services might be lawfully called for; but it has 
so happened that our small force has got considerably scattered and has been 
so disposed of as to render it difficult just now to comply with the wishes of 
your Grace and the Rt. Rev. Bishops of the Province. Our colleges owing 
to the double course of studies (mercantile and classical) carried on in each of 
them are a great drawback to these missions. Were it not for them, we could 
more freely avail ourselves of the gracious and kindly offer of the Council. 
However, we shall make every effort to bring about a commencement of the 
missions and set two or three Fathers apart for them. 48 

The readiness with which Father Druyts thus offered to second the 
wishes of Archbishop Purcell and his fellow-prelates met with instant 
approval on the part of Father Beckx. "In a matter of such importance 
belonging as it does to the principal activities of our Institute, your 
Reverence will endeavor to comply effectually with the highly reason- 
able wishes of the Bishops. I have several times in the past commended 
this same ministry to Ours in America, for I believe it to be of exceed- 
ing profit for the salvation of souls." 49 

In the summer of 1858 the assurances given by Druyts to Arch- 
bishop Purcell were made good by the appointment of Father Ferdi- 
nand Coosemans as "itinerant" missionary, with headquarters at St 

* T Druyts ad Beckx, May 19, 1858. (AA). 
* 8 Druyts to Purcell, May 20, 1858. (A), 
40 Beckx ad Druyts, 1858. (A), 


Xavier College, Cincinnati. Much as Father Druyts would have liked 
to supply additional workers for this important ministry, the slender 
membership of the vice-province forbade. The bishops had asked for five 
or six fathers and Druyts in his letter to the Archbishop of Cincinnati 
had held out hopes that at least two or three would be supplied. In the 
end he found himself in a position to assign only a single missionary 
to the work in hand. Father Coosemans was accordingly to take up 
single-handed the task of evangelizing the eight dioceses of the ecclesi- 
astical province of Cincinnati. This young Belgian priest, now only in 
his thirty-fifth year, who had filled for two years the post of rector of 
St. Joseph's College, Bardstown, Kentucky, came to his new duties 
direct from Florissant, where he had just passed through the exercises 
of the tertianship. Later, as provincial, he was to win general commen- 
dation for the prudence and whole-hearted charity with which he 
discharged the duties of his office. Mild-mannered, patient, self-effacing, 
a man of prayer and the interior life, he left everywhere the impression 
of being what the Constitutions of his order intended a Jesuit to be. 
In the pulpit he showed ability of no mean order, his preaching being 
marked by an engaging simplicity and unction that greatly impressed 
his hearers. A letter of Father Murphy's to the General, November r 5, 
1852, has this postscript: "I take up the pen again, full as I am of the 
first sermon of Father Coosemans, a Belgian j excellent matter and 
form, good delivery, accent and English perfect." 50 Brief accounts 
of the success he met with in his new field of labor were penned by 
Father Coosemans for his superior in St. Louis: 

I arrived here [Lexington, Ky.] on Saturday night and opened the 
Jubilee on the following day during High Mass. I preached three times that 
day and twice on the succeeding days. The mission was very well attended 
throughout. The crowd of listeners seemed to increase every night; a good 
portion of them were protestants. The time intervening between the in- 
structions was spent in the confessional. Rev. Fr. McMahon, the assistant- 
pastoi u to Fr. Aelen, told me that he anticipated from three to four hundred 
communions. The communions given up to this day from Sunday last amount 
already to 500 and a number are expected to go tomorrow, A great many 
cases of several years' standing have made their peace with God. I regret 
that I cannot stay till Monday. Last night a great many scapulars were dis- 
tributed. A great misery again not scapulars enough. An excitement of the 
right kind was created, thanks be to God, and I trust that the effects of it 
will be lasting A.M.D.G. 

You will please, dear Father, excuse this scrawl. I always go on the 
principle that a line of some sort' is better than nothing, A day or two of rest 
at present would be of benefit . , . but fiat voluntas Dei. 

50 Murphy a Roothaan, November 15, 1852. (AA), 


The mission at Frankfort [Kentucky] lasted five days. The Lord be 
praised for the good done. The three first days were rainy; but this did not 
prevent the people from coming, although there were no extra inducements. 
For as there is no choir in the beautiful new little gothic church which has 
just been completed, we could have no singing and no benedictions. There 
was nothing but a dry instruction and prayers. Still I was kept busy very 
nearly all the time in the confessional from the second till the last day in- 
cluded. When I arrived there, Rev. Mr. Lancaster, the pastor of Frankfort, 
told me that when the Redemptorist F. F. [Fathers] gave the mission three 
years ago there were 350 or 380 (I forget) communions, but that he did 
not expect to have anything like that number this time. Yet yesterday morn- 
ing the number of communicants ran to between 350 and 380; and F. 
[Father] Lancaster said that he remembers about 20 regulars [regular 
communicants] who could not come yet on account of the heavy rains we 
have had. Last Thursday night I gave the scapular to about 200, if not more. 

On my return to Cincinnati I had to pass by Lexington and I understand 
that the number of communicants had risen to about 600. Another good 
effect of the Jubilee there was the squashing of a Catholic [ ? ] secret society, 
which had been in operation for several weeks or months. 

Some of the Lexingtonians showed a wish to become acquainted with 
me But thank the Lord that I was so much engaged in other business that 
I had no time to make acquaintances. En revanche one wrote for my address 
to send me a stole, another sent me $5.00 to help me home, another a couple 
of handkerchiefs, etc. 61 

The work of the first father whom the vice-province of Missouri 
was able to put into the field for the preaching of English missions 
was to be of short duration. In January, 1859, Father Coosemans was 
called to the presidency of St. Louis University. By no one was his 
retirement from the missionary field more keenly felt than by Father 
Weninger, who lost no time in voicing a protest to the General. A post- 
script to a letter of Father Beckx's addressed to Father Druyts reads: 
"I have just this minute received a letter from Father Weninger, who 
begs most earnestly that Father Coosemans be allowed to continue the 
work of giving missions which he has begun. He declares that the salva- 
tion of many souls demands it and that this ministry is of far greater 
importance A.M.D.G. than the office of Rector. You can talk this matter 
over with good Father Weninger." 52 In September of the same year, 
1859, ^ e General wrote again to the vice-provincial, adverting to the 
fact that one advantage to result from the proposed closing of St. Xavier 
College, Cincinnati, would be to render certain fathers available for 
other occupations. "In this way it would be possible to find another 

51 Coosemans to Druyts, 1858. (A). 
52 Beckx ad Druyts, 1859. ( A )- 


missionary to replace Father Coosemans, and even, a thing I have fre- 
quently recommended, to increase the number of workers (operarii) 
appointed, in accordance with the express desire of the Bishops, to go 
through the various dioceses giving missions and the spiritual exercises. 
Could not Father Damen, among others, be put at this work? However, 
I do not insist on this, for I know that he labors with great fruit in 
Chicago." 53 

In February and again in March, 1860, Father Beckx returned 
to the subject of missions: 

Once more, accordingly, I commend to your Reverence these "itinerant" 
missions, as they are called, for they are highly in keeping with our vocation 
and fruitful for the salvation of souls, as ought to be abundantly evident to 
you from the single case of Father Weninger. To open new Residences 
requires an increased staff and multiplies burdens, while to go up and 
down the country giving missions is a ministry that can result in the richest 
of harvests, even though very few workers be engaged in it. 

I commend most earnestly to your Reverence the work of the missions. 
It is a source of great joy and consolation to me to read of the fruits gathered 
in this ministry, particularly by Fathers Weninger and Damen, and I desire 
that more Fathers, as far as circumstances permit, be assigned to the missions. 
In this way much good can be accomplished by Ours in various places. The 
Vice-Province neither has at present nor can it soon train up a sufficient 
number of men to manage many colleges or residences. Consequently, after 
the manner of our Lord and the early Fathers, let us continue to go about 
over a wide extent of country doing good. 54 

Though the Father General was thus urgent in his appeals that the 
English missions be immediately set on foot, Father Druyts for ail his 
good-will was at a loss to know how to take the step. In a letter of 
May 1 6, 1860, he protested that the missions were not being neglected, 
but that he had not understood it was expected of him to take the 
work immediately in hand. That would have been a difficult thing to 
do at the moment. Father Damen could not absent himself entirely 
from Chicago where he was building a monumental church and had 
to collect the funds necessary for this purpose. Father Driscoll of Cin- 
cinnati was likewise engaged in building a new church; moreover he 
could be used only for the smaller missions. Father Smarms was needed 
in St. Louis, at least from time to time, as a preacher, "the number 
of which among us is not considerable." Of all the fathers in the resi- 
dences of the vice-province Druyts could not recommend a single one 
for the missions. "Like the Bishops, especially in the West of the 

88 Beclcx ad Druyts, September, 1859. (A)- 

54 Beckx ad Druyts, February, i860; March, i860. (A). 


United States, the Vice-Province has been forced in very many cases, 
I think, to admit second-class subjects in the way of talent, forced to 
admit doubtful subjects in the way of vocation and this on the one hand 
because desirable (really good) candidates do not present themselves 
and on the other hand because one can scarcely abandon activities that 
were begun many years ago. Your Paternity, so we are hoping, will 
still have patience with your children of Missouri." 55 

Father Beckx's comment on Druyts's puzzlement over the situation 
was reassuring: 

From both your letters as also from a letter of Father Weninger, I am 
glad to acknowledge that the work of the missions has not been neglected by 
the Vice-Province and it has been a great consolation for me to learn of the 
fruits which the zeal of the workers, Fathers Weninger and Damen in par- 
ticular, has gathered in with the blessing of God. Moreover, in view of the 
circumstances as set forth by your Reverence, I see that it is scarcely possible 
as yet to have a house of missionaries in the proper sense of the word in the 
Vice-Province with its small contingent of men or to dispose things in such 
wise that the missionaries will not have to be applied, now and then, to other 
occupations; but this does not matter greatly, provided the missions be not 
neglected and that due care be taken of the health of the missionaries, all the 
more precious as they are so few in number. Wherefore all the greater pains 
ought to be taken to give the young men a solid foundation so that in time 
and by degrees they may become helpers and successors to those strenuous 
men. 50 


What was unusual in the status of Father Coosemans during the few 
months he spent on the missions was that this constituted his exclusive 
occupation. It was the first step taken by the midwestern Jesuits towards 
assigning men steadily to this important ministry instead of withdraw- 
ing them at intervals from other occupations for an occasional foray into 
the missionary field. But some years were to pass before this arrange- 
ment, interrupted by the recall of Coosemans, was restored by the 
organization of bands of "itinerant" missionaries employed all the year 
around in this apostolic work. Even Father Arnold Damen, who more 
than any one else was instrumental in organizing and carrying through 
the work of Jesuit parish-missions in the Middle United States, was 
pastor of a great congregation in Chicago and superior of his fellow- 
religious in that city during fifteen years of his notable career on the 
missions. When in 1872 Father Beckx relieved him of the Chicago 
superiorship, it was on the ground that the two occupations, that of 

C5 Dru7ts ad Beckx, May 16, 1860. (A). 
86 Beckx ad Druyts, 1860. (A). 


superior of a religious house and that of missionary, were incompatible 
in the same individual. 

Father Damen was of large and impressive physique with energy 
to match. The most characteristic thing about him was his unflagging 
zeal in the ministry. As a pulpit-orator he was earnest and effective, 
hitting the mark no less by the physical appeal of voice and gesture 
than by the burden of his discourses, which was ever the essential truths 
of salvation and the peremptory duties of Christian life. A straight- 
forward pursuit of God's glory and deep personal piety marked his 
labors from the beginning and he was said to have made a vow early 
in his Jesuit career to decline no task, however unpleasant, tendered 
him by his superiors. "I can say of this good Father," Father Coose- 
mans wrote of him to the General, "that he is not only a good mis- 
sionary, but an exemplary religious.' 3 57 

Father Damen's ability as an efficient dispenser of the divine word 
was not obvious from the first. For some time following his ordination 
in 1845 he was, if one may credit tradition, considered by his superiors 
to be incompetent for the office of preacher and as a consequence was 
seldom or ever assigned to it. But the following year, 1846, while 
engaged in delivering the instructions after vespers on Sunday after- 
noons in the Jesuit church of St. Louis he revealed himself as a pulpit 
orator of unusual power. Some of his hearers on these occasions recalled 
in after years the deep impression made upon them by his forcible and 
striking utterances, which they could not help regarding at the time 
as prophetic of the success that awaited him in the ministry of the spoken 
word. From this period his gifts as a preacher met with recognition 
and his sermons during the decade 1847-1857, while he was pastor of 
the College Church in St. Louis, were eagerly listened to by all classes 
of persons. Subsequently his success in the pulpit brought him a repu- 
tation that was in a measure nation-wide. "His was an eloquence," wrote 
one who knew him intimately, "that carried the multitude with irresisti- 
ble force. His stately figure, his powerful yet musical and sympathetic 
voice and above all, his heart strong in its affections and his soul's con- 
victions with its deep and inspiring piety made him in all the missions 
the most successful preacher to the masses of the people." 58 "He is a 
tall, portly man," so Lesperance portrayed him, "with handsome head 
and dignified bearing that inspires respect in any assembly." 

In the midsummer of 1856 Father Damen, while still retaining his 
pastorate in St. Louis, made what appears to have been his first appear- 

57 Coosemans a Beckx, May 18, 1864. (AA). Joseph P. Conroy, S.J., Arnold 
rner S.J.: a Chapter in the Making of Chicago (New York, 1930), is an 
excellent account. 
**WL, 19:224. 


ance in the missionary field. The occasion was a mission preached in 
St. Mary's Cathedral, Chicago, with the assistance of Fathers Isidore 
Boudreaux, Benedict Masselis and Michael Corbett. A published notice 
under date of August 26, 1856, from the pen, it would appear, of 
Father Dillon, pastor of the Holy Name Church, Chicago, records the 
gratifying results that attended the efforts of the preachers: 

The spiritual retreat which our Right Rev. Bishop [O'Regan] has pro- 
vided for the Catholics of this city has just now closed. For the last three 
weeks the exercises have been conducted by five Jesuit Fathers under the 
guidance of Father Damen. The fruits of their holy and successful labors are 
already manifest. Many Protestants have embraced the Catholic religion, and 
the Catholics to be counted by thousands many, very many of whom had 
for years neglected their spiritual interests, crowded the churches and con- 

The zeal, the piety and labors of Father Damen and his associates, and 
his practical and persuasive eloquence, have won for these eminent servants 
of God the love and veneration of all our citizens, Protestant and Catholic. 
From four in the morning until after midnight, these zealous Fathers and the 
parochial clergymen have been occupied with the duties of religion, yet all 
this was insufficient, such was the holy importunity of the people whom God 
moved to profit by their ministry. 

It is understood that twelve thousand, at least, have received communion. 
None of the churches could accommodate the multitude that crowded from 
all parts of the city. The Cathedral, with its galleries newly put up, being 
found altogether too small, the mission was transferred to the large en- 
closure on the North Side known as the church of the Holy Name and here, 
as if nothing had been previously done, a new harvest is found already 

Years of spiritual indolence are atoned for and a new life the life of 
grace is begun by hundreds who for many long years knew not how great 
a blessing this was. How consoling to the heart of the Right Rev. Bishop and 
of the Missionaries must not be this fruit of their labors, this fresh evidence 
of the vitality of the Catholic spirit, which it would seem neither time nor 
circumstances the most unfavorable to its culture can root out of the soul of 
the sincere believer. 

This is the third retreat with which, within the brief period of five 
months, the Catholics of Chicago have been blessed, the first being given by 
the Jesuit Father Weninger, and the second soon after by the Redemptorist, 
Father Krutil. May we not hope that henceforth the religious progress of 
our city will keep even in advance of its astonishing material prosperity. 

Concedat Deus. Amen. M. Dillon. 59 

For, Father Damen this Chicago mission was the turning-point of his 
career, leading as it did to his assignment the following spring to the 

"St. Louis Leader, August 15, 1856. 


northern metropolis as the permanent field of his activities. The story 
of the upbuilding at his hands of a great urban parish is a chapter of 
interest in the history of the Church in the United States during the 
period of immigration. It is enough to say here that inaugurating his 
work in that city in the May of 1857 by the erection of a temporary 
church, he saw a few months later the foundations laid of what was to 
become one of the most imposing shrines of Christian worship in the 
Middle West. As early as the winter of 1857-1858, while the edifice 
was still in process of construction, he had begun to conduct a series 
of missionary revivals in Chicago and outside. To Father Beckx he 
reported in August, 1858, the success that attended his ministry in this 
connection. His letter is in English, an unusual circumstance in cor- 
. respondence addressed to the Father General: 

I have been engaged giving missions or retreats during the whole winter 
which have produced an immense amount of fruit. I have given the spiritual 
exercises in Chicago in two churches, in which we had 9000 confessions. I 
have also given the exercises in the city of Peoria, where we had two thousand 
confessions; in Dubuque (Cathedral church) over four thousand confessions; 
in Galena two thousand confessions; in Rockford eight hundred confessions. 
In all these places religion had suffered very severely, several Catholics had 
fallen away from religion, many had become protestants or infidels 5 all these 
have been brought to their religion and many protestants have been converted 
to our holy religion. I have had the consolation of baptizing several pro- 
testants, among whom two protestants ministers or preachers. In all these 
places where retreats have been given the perseverance of the converted 
sinners and protestants is truly edifying and consoling. I receive from time to 
time letters of the Bishops or pastors testifying to the consoling effects of the 
retreats. We have received about eighty protestants and infidels into the 
church. In the retreats the crowds that attended the instructions were really 
most extraordinary; we were in the confessionals from early in the morning 
till ii or 12 o'clock at night and our great grief was that we could not hear 
the confessions of all the poor sinners who presented themselves although 
several nights we did not go to bed at all but remained all night in the con- 
fessionals. The secular clergy and Dominicans assisted us in hearing the 
confessions. I preached three or four times every day ... in one of the 
missions or retreats I gave in the winter the church in which I gave the 
mission was sold for debts while I was giving the exercises. The church was 
bought by a protestant for $700, but Divine Providence sent him to listen to 
the exercises of the retreat; he was moved, convinced, etc. and before the end 
of the retreat I had the consolation of receiving him into the church and of 
course the church which he had bought was restored to the pastor or rather 
to the Bishop of the diocese. This was in Galena, 111. 60 

60 Damen to Beckx, August, 1858. (AA). 


Part of the winter of 1858-1859 was spent by Father Damen at 
Florissant, where he went through an abbreviated tertianship, his duties 
in Chicago not permitting him to spend the normal period of time in 
this important stage of Jesuit formation. But he managed to continue 
the preaching of parish missions, though on a reduced scale, as he in- 
formed Father Beckx, this time writing in French: 

As I was absent during these two months, I was unable to give many 
missions during this winter. I gave one at Mehan settlement, one at Peoria, 
one at our church in Milwaukee and another at the Cathedral of the same 
city. In all these missions I preached two or three times a day, the exercises 
being followed by the most consoling results. Everywhere the churches were 
filled and there were crowds around the confessional from early morning 
until midnight, at which hour we retired for rest to resume the work at half- 
past five in the morning. We were everywhere in need of more confessors for 
many poor sinners after having waited whole days before the confessional 
were forced to give up hope of being able to make their confessions. I was 
indeed deeply distressed that these poor souls, after having been faithful to 
the grace that moved them interiorly, their hearts being filled with the com- 
punction that the Holy Spirit had poured into them, were so unfortunate as not 
to be able to reconcile themselves with God; our Fathers at Milwaukee 
shared my sentiments. How often have I desired to be employed entirely on the 
missions, for, as the Bishop of Milwaukee observed to me, I am made to be a 
missionary. After preaching two or three times a day for two months and be- 
ing in the confessional from five in the morning to twelve at night, I am only 
just tired and my voice is as strong and clear as when I started out although 
I ordinarily preach an hour or an hour and a half and with great vehemence 
for the more a preacher thunders from the pulpit the more the Irish and the 
Americans like him. You can form no idea, Very Reverend Father, how 
much good is done here by these missions or retreats, how many poor sinners 
are brought back to God after having neglected the sacraments for years, 
how many sacrilegious confessions are made good, how many vices are rooted 
out and virtues inculcated. It is for these reasons, Very Reverend Father, 
that I earnestly pray you to urge Father-Provincial to choose two or three 
Fathers for the missions exclusively and how happy should I be were I to be 
of their number. Yes, I would thank God for it with all my heart. Still I do 
not ask for it for I have always been convinced that it is a very dangerous 
thing for religious to ask for anything, that is to. say, for themselves, for I 
am not afraid at all to ask for things that concern the general good; and I 
am going right away to give your Paternity a proof of this. I will ask you, 
since you cannot help us with money, to make us a present of fourteen paint- 
ings of the Way of the Cross for our new church. 61 

As though the building of a great-sized house of worship in Chicago 
with all the financial problems it entailed was not a matter quite suffi- 

01 Damcn a Beckx, May ii> 1859. (AA). 


cient to absorb his energies. Father Damen was thus at the same time 
a preacher of parish-missions up and down the Middle West. This 
fruitful ministry was largely a personal venture of his own. The work 
of the English missions had not as yet been systematically taken up by 
the vice-province. Father Wippern was regretting to the General in 
August, 1859, that it had been suspended by the call of Father Coose- 
mans to the presidency of St. Louis University with no successor to 
step into the breach. 63 

In the winter of 1860-1861 a more or less serious attempt seems 
to have been made to inaugurate the English missions on a systematic 
basis. In March, 1861, Father Weninger was expressing himself on 
the subject to the General with characteristic eagerness: 

Thanks be to God and the Blessed Virgin that the English missions have 
been begun. In the last one, which was given by Father Damen with the 
help of Father Tschieder at St. Patrick's in St. Louis, 10,000 went to Holy 
Communion, 200 received the Scapular of the Blessed Virgin Mary and 270 
adults were confirmed. Moreover, nineteen American Protestants were re- 
ceived into the Church. I earnestly beg your Paternity to commend Very 
Reverend Visitor [Soprani's] for having made a start of this ministry at the 
hands of Ours. He consented reluctantly as he feared the colleges would 
suffer harm thereby ; but let your Paternity be convinced that the missions 
are the very sort of employment necessary above all others even for the good 
results of the colleges themselves. Let only your Paternity admonish and 
encourage Reverend Father Visitor and the Fathers of the Province to per- 
severe with every effort in the beginnings made and develop them and we 
shall hear of wonders. And if only three Fathers, to be steadily employed 
on the missions, were available for each archdiocese, more would be accom- 
plished A.M.D.G. for the salvation of souls and the good of the Society in 
one year than in 100 years through the colleges. Facts speak. These colleges 
are not so-called "Bobadilla [ ? ] colleges." In every English mission Father 
Damen receives 14, 1 6, 20 Protestants; in a certain mission he received as 
many as 6o. 68 

Though Father Weninger writes as though the preaching of English 
missions was already a regularly organized activity of the vice-province, 
some time was yet to elapse before this was actually the case. No one 
could say that the work was on a satisfactory basis as long as Father 
Damen was the only one engaged in it with merely the occasional 
cooperation of one or other of his confreres. A companion-priest regu- 
larly appointed to share his labors on the missions was a recognized 
need but it was one which it seemed impossible for the moment to 

62 Wippern ad Bcckx, August 4, 1859. (AA). 
68 Weninger ad Becbc, March 17, 1861. (AA). 


supply. Father Beckx in 1861 and again in 1862 was still encouraging 
Father Damen in his hopes for a better organization of the missions: 

Your Reverence is right in considering the work of the missions to be 
among the primary ones of our Institute and highly deserving of all our 
solicitude. If at any time this be true, especially is it true now amid the wide- 
spread agitation of wars, highly discouraging as this is to college studies. I 
have already repeatedly recommended the Superiors of the Vice-Province and 
will recommend them afresh to promote missions of this sort and spiritual 
exercises for the public. . . . For the rest, it is clear to me also that you 
cannot be equal for any length of time to so great a weight of labor and that 
for this reason also companions ought to be assigned you. I have recom- 
mended and will continue to recommend to both Father Visitor and Father 
Provincial that they lend you assistance if by any manner of means it can be 
done. 64 

Meantime, until a regular staff of missionaries could be provided, 
Father Damen continued to work the field alone and with excellent 
results. At Detroit in the spring of 1860 his voice failed him in the 
very midst of a most trying mission. The appeal for a substitute which 
he quickly sent to Father Druyts in St. Louis did not lack ve- 

In the name of God send Father Smarms or at least Father Coosemans. 
My voice has given out. I am so hoarse I can hardly be heard. I force myself 
because I see the terrible condition in which religion is. So many have aposta- 
tized from the church, so many have abandoned the practice of religious 
duties that I 'cannot but exert myself to bring back so many lost souls. At the 
same time I may lose my voice forever if I continue. Do then for God's 
sake, send Smarius or Coosemans to help me. You know well that I am the 
last man to call for assistance when I can do it myself. But I must acknowl- 
edge this time that I cannot. I am strong myself and feel myself devoured 
with zeal, but my voice fails me. The people are attending in crowds and do 
expect a great deal from this mission. The good of souls, then, the glory of 
God and of our Society demands that you send some one at once to help me. 
Oh, think how large a city this is, how many souls bought by the precious 
blood of Christ. Do then for God's sake, send Father Smarius or Goose- 

mans. 05 

04 Beckx ad Damen, December 14, 1861; July 12, 1862. (AA). 

05 Damen to Druyts, March II, 1860. (AA). "Rev. Father Damen, S.J., was 
giving an extraordinary mission at the Cathedral, which, was continued for three 
weeks, during which time we (from 10 to 14. and sometimes 16 confessors) were 
from early in the morning until late at night constantly occupied in the confes- 
sional. This mission was indeed extraordinary in its good effects and in the 
sensation it created throughout the city and we had the consolation of giving the 
Holy Communion to 7,500 persons and of receiving 67 protestants into the 
Church." Lcfevere to Purccll, April 2, 1860. (I). 


Further illustration o Damen's downright earnestness and eager 
zeal, as also of the success which attended his efforts even when working 
alone> is supplied by a letter of his to Father Coosemans: 

On the gth of October I opened the mission in Evansville, Ind. to the 
English speaking congregation, which is small. The pastor thought I might 
have 300 communions. The mission was very well attended. All seem to 
have given up all temporal concerns in order to attend to the one thing nec- 
essary, so that the sermons during the day were almost as well attended as 
the night [ones]. I preached three times per day, was in the confessional from 
6 o'clock in the morning until u or 12 o'clock at night. The Protestants 
attended in large crowds and seemed very much delighted with the discourses 
on the doctrines of the church. Many declared that they were convinced that 
the Catholic church is the only true church and that they would inform them- 
selves by reading and visits to the pastor and join the church later. Six Prot- 
estants were baptized and prepared for 1st communion ; others were post- 
poned, not being sufficiently instructed. The six were married persons and of 
course gaining them we gain the children. We had 600 communions, re vali- 
dated several marriages, invested with the scapular some four hundred persons 
and established the Society of the Sacred Heart; some 200 persons joined 
it. On the i6th of October the mission was concluded at night with a grand 
illumination, [and] the consecration of the congregation to the Immaculate 
Mother. Then 24 young ladies dressed in white with long white veils and 
crown [s] of flowers on their heads standing around the altar with papers in 
their hands read the renovation of the baptismal vows in a loud voice. There 
was a breathless silence in the church, interrupted only by the sobs of the peo- 
ple. Then I made a second appeal to the people (for the ceremony commenced 
with the sermon on perseverance) and said: "You have heard, my dear 
people, this solemn renunciation of Satan and his works. But you are able to 
speak for yourselves. Declare aloud, before God, the blessed Jesus here on 
the altar, his holy angels around the holy tabernacle, the venerable Bishop and 
your good Pastor. Speak out, do you renounce the devil?" There was a 
bursting out like the roaring of the thunder, "I renounce him." "And do you 
renounce all his works, that is, all sin?" The same answer was given. "Who 
shall be your leader and guide for the future?" All cried aloud, "Jesus, for- 
ever!" All this was done with an abundance of tears and many sobs. It came 
on them so unexpectedly, not being prepared for it. Then all the congrega- 
tion arose and made the profession of faith aloud; after which all raised their 
hands to heaven, promised aloud that they would live and die in the Catholic 
church, that they would lay down their lives and shed all their blood rather 
than give up one iota of the Catholic faith; after which I gave the papal 
benediction. The next morning at 8 o'clock we had a high-mass of thanks- 
giving. I bade them farewell, let them weep as long as they chose and was 
off in the cars to Columbus, Ind.," a small place where I was four days, All 
the Catholics went to communion. Some leaders of secret societies abandoned 


their societies and returned to the church, two Protestants became Catholics, 
some apostates returned to the faith and many Protestants acknowledged 
that the Catholic religion is true. This place is visited but once a month. I was 
to St. Vincent's church, Shelby Co., where I remained 5 days. This is a small 
congregation in the woods of Indiana, settled by Kentuckian farmers. They 
have Mass once a month on Sunday. All the Protestants as well as the 
Catholics gave up their work to attend the mission; all the Catholics ap- 
proached the sacraments, two excepted. Many came a distance of I o or 20 
miles, bringing their dinners along and remaining at the church the whole 

I preached 3 times per day as usual and gave one hour catechism. 5 Prot- 
estants were received into the church and some old persons received their 1st 
communions. I regretted that I could not stay longer, for I had good grounds 
to believe that all the Protestants would become Catholics, if I had stayed 
4 or 5 days longer; but my appointment was for Chicago to preach the 
novena of the Immaculate Conception. We planted a cross 30 feet high 12 
inches square with the inscription (Mission by the Jesuit Fathers, 1862), 
although I was the only Jesuit there. 66 

The decisive turning-point in the development of the ministry of 
popular missions, as exercised by the midwestern Jesuits, was the 
assignment in the summer of 1861 of Father Cornelius Smarius to the 
Chicago residence. Here his status was to be that of missionaries excur- 
rens or "travelling missionary," either as team-mate to Father Damen 
or on his own account. Later, in 1864, Fathers James Van Goch and 
James Converse were assigned to Fathers Damen and Smarius respec- 
tively as companion missionaries. In 1865 Father Converse was replaced 
by Father Florentine Boudreaux. Still later, others were put in the 
field to reenforce the missionary band. In 1874 at St. Gabriel's Church, 
New York, Father Damen was assisted by Fathers Van Goch, Zealand, 
Masselis, Niederkorn, Putten and Koopmans. In the mid-seventies 
Fathers Hillman and Henry Bronsgeest were accessions to the mis- 
sionary-staff. The significant thing about these preachers of English 
missions is that they were not American-born, but, almost without excep- 
tion, men of Dutch birth. The process of the melting-pot had gone on 
with astonishing swiftness in the case of these sturdy sons of Holland. 
The instance is of course by no means a unique one in the story of 
the European immigrant on American soil. The ease with which great 
numbers of the foreign-born have adjusted themselves to their new 
environment, the success with which they have come to use the language 
of their adopted country in spoken and written speech, are common- 
places in the history of the United States. Of this success no more inter- 
esting example can be cited than Smarius. 

00 Damen to Coosemans, January 29, 1863. (A). 


Cornelius Smarius, a native of Tilburg in Holland, where he was 
born in 1823, was eighteen when he arrived in America to become 
a Jesuit novice at Florissant. Literary gifts and a talent for public 
speaking had marked him from boyhood days. At St. Xavier College, 
Cincinnati, he conducted classes in rhetoric and the humanities through 
a period of six years, 1843-1849, all the while perfecting himself in 
English and reading much in history, of which he was to make frequent 
.and effective use in his public lectures and addresses. Then, having 
gotten up during his teaching days enough of moral theology to qualify 
for ordination, he received the priesthood at the hands of Bishop Van de 
Velde, July 31, 1849. F ur years, 1852-1856, were devoted to dogmatic 
theology, under the French Jesuits at Fordham, New York, an excep- 
tional opportunity for systematic study to be enjoyed by a midwestern 
Jesuit at this early date. Of this opportunity the young priest took every 
advantage, giving himself especially to study of the great patristic litera- 
ture of the Church. When he returned to St. Louis in 1856, he at once 
stepped into prominence as a lecturer and preacher of power. His 
Sunday evening lectures at the College Church, of which he became 
pastor on the death of Father Gleizal in 1858, were listened to eagerly 
by Catholics and non-Catholics alike, and read by others in the columns 
of the St. Louis Republican. "We look for fruit from all this," wrote 
Father Druyts to the General in 18605 "several Protestants are already 
receiving private instruction and three have been publicly baptized." 7 
"Went up to Jesuit Church [Chicago] this evening," reads an entry 
in the diary of William J. Onahan, August 16, 1861. "Heard Father 
Smarius on Sin and its Enormity. Of course I was pleased beyond meas- 
ure with his discourse." "When will St. Louis," asked Judge Robert 
A. Bakewell in 1879, "again have a public speaker that would move 
an audience as could Father Smarius?" 8 Of the impression made by 
this Americanized Hollander on his contemporaries a vivid record sur- 
vives in lines written by John Lesperance: 

His [Smarius's] rhetoric classes for many years were the most brilliant 
that the University perhaps ever had. For a foreigner, his command of 
English was a simple wonder. I think that a selection of his poems should be 
made and published. I have heard many great speakers at home and abroad, 
but none that more thoroughly realized my ideas of a born orator. He had a 
splendid presence and a resonant voice, but beyond that was not specially 
favored by nature. His head, though shapely, was small and almost completely 
bald; his neck was short and he wore spectacles, a drawback which he fre- 
quently regretted, as preventing him from mastering his audience through the 

07 Druyts a Bcckx, January i, 1860. (AA). 

08 St. Louis Republican, June 25^ 1879, (AA). Extracts from Onahan's diary 
are in Mid-A merica, 1 4 : 64-7 2 


eye. Yet his oratorical efforts were irresistible, particularly because they were 
not due to rhetoric but were the outcome of the deepest learning. The thing 
which gave his eloquence the character of genius was its intense human senti- 
ment. He would go along for a while in the best academic fashion he gen- 
erally wrote his discourses when suddenly something would strike him either 
in the sequence of his thoughts or in the attitude of his audience and then he 
would be transformed. The broad chest would swell, the eye flash, the head 
toss, the voice peal like a chime of bells and the play of the imagination would 
be such as to throw off a series of images in climax or anti-climax that I 
can compare to nothing so well as to the fabled mirages of the Magic Mirror. 
At a commencement day at St. John's College, Fordham, N. Y., in 1864, 
I remember that somehow everything had gone wrong and a dismal failure 
was imminent, when Father Smarius, who was then on a visit and had been 
invited to address some words to the graduates, changed the whole aspect 
of affairs in a few minutes. He spoke not more than a quarter of an hour, 
but the effect was electrical and the audience almost beside itself. His first 
introduction to our people in St. Louis was through his famous lecture on the 
"Pagan and Christian Families," which he dictated to me, only a little shaver, 
and read from my manuscript. I was as proud as Punch of that circumstance. 
I remember that Rev. Henry Giles and the eloquent Uriah Wright were on 
the platform that night and declared that they had never heard a grander 
performance. Poor Father Smarius died at an early age, all too soon for the 
good work that lay in store for him. 69 

Father Smarius's Points of Controversy, first published in 1866, is 
still in demand as an effective manual of Catholic apologetics. His lec- 
ture, The Christian and Pagan Families, his funeral oration over Gov- 
ernor Bissell of Illinois, who died a Catholic, and his address to the 
Missouri and Independent Guards in their camp at the St. Louis Fair 
Grounds, 1860, are examples of an oratory dignified and impressive, 
if too overwrought for the simpler taste of more recent days. Perhaps 
one may describe it as Websterian; the sonorous swing of the sentences 
has something about it to suggest the manner of America's classic orator. 
But while Smarius spoke and wrote English with an idiomatic propriety 
and wealth of diction remarkable in one who came by the language 
not as an inherited gift but as a laborious acquisition, his literary manner 
shows a pseudo-classicism quite foreign to present-day standards of 
speech. A passage from his St. Louis Fair Grounds address of 1860 

There are periods in the life of a nation when its dearest interests cannot 
be protected from open violence neither [sic] by the powerful sway of reason 
nor the soothing influence of persuasive eloquence, when nothing but the 
dread sound of the tocsin and the deafening roll of the drum can intimidate 

09 Idem, September 13, 1879. 


the reckless heart whose blinded passions carry fear and dismay along the 
deserted streets of a troubled city or death and carnage along the highways 
of a nation. On occasions like these, not infrequent in the history of republi- 
can as well as despotic peoples, we need men whose skill in arms is equal to 
their courageous determination to defend the weak, to maintain order and 
to protect the land from universal anarchy or despotism. We need men, who, 
like the Achilles, the Fabii, the Cincinnati of yore, are ready to exchange 
the distaff, the ploughshare and the spade, for the musket and the spear; 
men, who like Dearborn and Brooks will fling away the lancet to grasp the 
sword; or, like Pierce leave the plough in the furrow to take their stand at 
the cannon's mouth. Men, who like Green, forsake the anvil to wield the 
sledge-hammer of destructive war; who like Putnam, turn the hunter's rifle 
upon the preying wolf in human guise; who, like Whipple, seize the harpoon 
to strike the pirate in the heart; who, like our great, our immortal hero, 
George Washington, drop the compass and the chain to direct the doubtful 
fortunes of the battlefield. 

The address to the soldiers at the St. Louis Fair Grounds, while not 
conceived in any militaristic vein, does not hesitate to award the soldier 
a place of distinction in the social organism. The peroration is as 

Citizen-soldiers, allow me to express my inmost conviction of mind that 
you have been formed according to this or a similar model. Allow me to 
cherish the thought that you are as faithful to your God as you are loyal to 
the Republic, whose interests you are pledged to protect, whose liberties you 
are sworn to defend. Let posterity recognize in you loyal patriots and faithful 
Christians. In the hour of danger, the most holy, the most important privi- 
leges and guarantees of freedom are in your hands. Should your country call 
you from the peaceful fireside of your family to the field of battle, remember 
our altars as well as our houses. . . . Wave the Banner of the Cross wher- 
ever you display the flag of Republican Freedom. Screen us from the des- 
potism of religious fanaticism as you would from the tyranny of the ruthless 
invader. Be warriors, be heroes, be braves, but above all, be Christians. 70 

With Father Smarms devoting his talent for public speaking to the 
preaching of popular missions, this ministry began to assume proportions 
in keeping with the importance that attached to it. From his day to our 
own it has been steadily maintained as a recognized activity among the 
many that engage the Jesuits of the Middle West. Their zealous labors 
in this particular field were not confined to their territory proper; they 
reached out as early as the mid-sixties to the eastern United States. 
The reputation which the western missionaries acquired in the East 

70 Hem^ undated clipping. Deuther, Life and Times of Bishop Timon^ 308- 
310, has an appreciation of the Buffalo prelate by Father Smarius. 


was due largely, it has been asserted, to Father Smarius's impressive 
lectures, which were always a feature o the missions in which he was 
engaged and were generally delivered when the mission proper was 
over. When Fathers Damen and Smarius cooperated in the same re- 
vival, the evening sermons, the most important part of the program, 
were given as a rule by the latter. A mission conducted at the Cincinnati 
cathedral in 1863 was described thus by Father John Schultz, rector 
at the time of St. Xavier College in that city: 

The mission at the Cathedral is succeeding marvelously. Every evening 
church and basement are filled with an immense audience. Father Smarius 
preaches in the church and Father Damen in the basement at the same time, 
while two large chapels are filled with persons, some of them from 50 to 60 
years old, who are preparing for first communion and confirmation. From 
10 to 12 priests, regulars and seculars, are employed in hearing confessions. 
The Archbishop and the members of his household appear to be in admiration 
at it. The mission will continue up to next Sunday and then, after Father 
Damen's departure for Illinois, Father Smarius will give instructions in dogma 
during a few days longer. Before going to Cincinnati Father Smarius gave 
missions in two towns of Bishop Miege's Vicariate. At Leavenworth alone, 
besides the conversion of a great number of Catholics who had not been 
to the sacraments for many years, 30 Protestants received Baptism either 
during the mission or a few days later. It is inconceivable, Very Reverend 
Father, what immense good is wrought in the country by means of missions 
and to what extent these missions are necessary. Oh! that we only had a 
larger number of capable subjects who might be employed in this sacred 
ministry. 71 

In the same year, 1863, a two-weeks' mission preached by Fathers 
Damen and Smarius in St. Francis Xavier Church, St. Louis, met with 
noteworthy response. There were forty baptisms of converts and twelve 
thousand confessions. Many who had been away from the sacraments 
for ten, twenty, fifty years were reconciled to the Church. Not a few 
baptized Catholics after sixty or seventy years of a life without ^ God 
made confession of their sins for the first time. Yet, strangely enough, 
the methods of the two missionaries did not commend themselves to 
all. Father Joseph Keller, delicate and sensitive of temper and probably 
for that reason too exacting a critic, ("a rather severe appraiser of men 
and things," Father Murphy called him,) declared that a cold chill 
seized him as he listened to Smarius inveighing with unconventional 
bluntness against the sins of the flesh or indulging in language about 
Protestants which seemed extreme. Moreover, there was in Father 
Damen, so Keller felt, too obvious a desire to profit by the mission 

71 Schultz I Beckx, March 15, 1863. (AA). 


in a material way by gathering in the offerings which on these occa- 
sions the missionary hoped to receive as a means of financing his great 
building projects in Chicago. At the close of the mission Father Coose- 
mans brought these strictures to the notice of the missionaries. "I will 
certainly say [of Father Smarius]," comments Keller, "that he is accus- 
tomed to receive with willingness the admonitions of Superiors 5 but it 
would be difficult for him to amend, seeing that in these things there is 
in his judgment no defect at all ... perhaps it is we who are at fault 
in complaining about these things. Perhaps we are too timid, too cau- 
tious. Certainly, if we can here apply the maxim, <by their fruits you 
shall know them/ we shall have to confess that these Fathers are dear 
to God and are led by the spirit of God." 72 

It was in the East, in the great urban communities of Catholic immi- 
grants that had grown up in that section of the country, that the western 
missionaries scored their most notable successes. A three-weeks' mission 
which they conducted at St. Francis Xavier^s, New York, in 1863, with 
twenty-two confessors in attendance and seventy receptions of converts 
into the Church as one of the results, was considered on all sides to 
have been, so John Gilmary Shea, the historian, wrote to Father De 
Smet, the most notable ever preached in the metropolis. In 1865 a mis- 
sion, preached also in New York by Fathers Damen and Van Goch, re- 
sulted in twelve thousand communions, ninety-seven conversions from 
Protestantism and five hundred first communions of adults. "Father 
Damen attributes this extraordinary success to the prayers of the little 
orphans, who implored without ceasing the Lord's clemency on these 
poor sinners, while the Brothers were engaged in instructing the men, 
and the Sisters, the women, so as to prepare them to approach the sacra- 
ments worthily." 73 Later in the same year, 1865, three more New York 
missions, with Fathers Damen, Smarius and Van Goch officiating, 
yielded eighteen thousand communions and seventy-two conversions of 
Protestants. Again, an Albany mission, conducted in the same year by 
Fathers Damen and Smarius had among other fruits fourteen thousand 
communions, forty-one conversions of non-Catholics and between four 
and five hundred first communions of fathers and mothers of families 
and other adults. Moreover, a number of Catholics who had become 
masons renounced their membership in the lodges. "May God in His 
goodness," prayed Father Coosemans in reporting these interesting facts 
to the General, "preserve Father Damen, for many years to come, and 
deliver him from the indispositions to which he is subject from time 
to time." 74 The striking results attending these large-scale eastern re- 

72 Keller ad Beckx, April 21, i863/(AA). 

78 Coosemans a Beckx, February 18, 1865. (AA). 

74 Coosemans a Beckx, August II, 1865. (AA). 


vivals had the effect of causing the services of the western missionaries 
to be much in demand in other sections of the country. Early in 1865 
Bishop Elder was petitioning Father Coosemans in the most pressing 
manner to send fathers to Natchez and Vicksburg. The petition had 
to be denied. "Unfortunately the missionaries [themselves] cannot 
accede to his request and I scarcely have men of sufficient leisure to 
send there. Oh! that we had a greater number of men so as to respond 
to all these requests." 75 

The enthusiasm that marked the eastern missions was due no doubt 
in part to the circumstance that these religious revivals were a novelty 
in Catholic parish life in the country. That of 1863 at St. Francis 
Xavier's, New York, was described in this manner by one of the par- 
ticipating preachers: 

Our mission finished yesterday. I scarcely venture to give you a descrip- 
tion of it, I have so many things to tell you. The last instruction had to be 
given in three different places at the same time. Father Smarms preached 
in the church to men and women, Father Damen in the large college hall 
to men only, while Father O'Reilly had only women in the basement of the 
church. Each of the three orators was greeted with the sight of crowds of 
people thronging with every eagerness to hear him. In order that the student- 
galleries might be thrown open to the public, the students were given places in 
the sanctuary. The stage from which the Father preached was crowded with 
men standing up. At the entrance to the hall, a hundred auditors, unable to 
find room in the hall, were ranged along the steps of the stairway. Several 
controversial sermons were given in the church. The Protestants came in 
good number. Last Sunday after high mass twenty of them were baptized 
in presence of the whole congregation. The first to approach the baptismal 
font was a worthy minister. The public was next edified by the abjuration 
of four perverts from Catholicism. Baptized by Catholic priests, they had 
allowed themselves to be carried away little by little by the religion that 
is here predominant. On the preceding day a number were reconciled to the 
Church while others at the same time were being given religious instruction. 
As to the Catholics, it is enough to say that the confessions began the second 
day of the mission and that thereafter there was no falling-off in the crowds 
around the confessionals. In spite of the number of confessors (fifteen to 
thirty) every evening thousands had to go home without having had a chance 
to confess, for people came from every corner of the city and from near-by 
towns. Last Sunday evening, the street in front of the church was so blocked 
that it was impossible to make one's way through. "Why haven't these 
Fathers a bigger church/' was what you heard on all sides. I knew of per- 
sons from distant quarters of the city who took lodgings in the vicinity so as to 
be in time for the mission. Today is the close of the triduum in honor of the 
Japanese martyrs. The confessions continue as numerous as ever; I don't 

"Coosemans a Beckx, February 18, 1865. (AA). 


know when they will stop. Let us bless God for all the good that has been 
done on this occasion. 76 

A notice of the same mission was carried in a local Catholic paper: 

From fifteen to thirty priests were occupied without interruption from 
morning to night in hearing confessions; and with what glorious success their 
fatiguing labors were crowned! During these days of grace, twenty-thousand 
persons approached the tribunal of penance. Fifty-seven persons made their 
abjuration and some others are preparing for the same by receiving instruc- 
tions. What a rich harvest of souls gathered into the granary of the Lord 
during the three weeks' work of the mission ! In completing this great success 
we are reminded of the first labors of the Society of Jesus in America when 
the people came in crowds with contrite hearts to ask of the minister of 
religion the grace of baptism. 77 

Coming as they did in immediate contact with Catholic immigrant 
groups in various parts of the country, the missionaries had exceptional 
opportunities for appreciating their religious needs. Father Smarius's 
analysis of the situation among them is informing: 

The continual immigration of the numerous Catholics coming from 
almost all the countries of Europe, especially Ireland and Germany, and the 
lack of apostolic workers in proportion to the increase of this immigration 
have demonstrated the importance and the necessity of these exercises [mis- 
sions]. Thousands of Catholics, especially in the most populous of the cities, 
live in complete negligence of their Christian duties and of the sacraments. 
To recall them to their obligations requires an extraordinary means. Now the 
announcement of the mission made and repeated several times before the 
opening-day excites curiosity and attracts souls that still have any trace of 
religion left in them. The result is the return of many a prodigal son, as also 
notable victories over rooted vices and bad habits. 

The same need exists at least relatively in the smaller towns and in the 
villages. The working classes and farmers are often at a considerable distance 
from the little chapels which the zeal of priests and the generosity of the 
poor have built in the interior of our States. And these farmers and laborers 
have only from time to time the spiritual succor necessary to nourish the 
spirit of religion which, like the lamp, is extinguished for lack of saving oil, 
to wit, instruction and the sacraments. The missions have the effect of making 
the spirit of faith revive among them and of reawakening the salutary interest 
which they ought to have in their own souls and in those of their children. 
To give you a convincing proof of it, permit me to tell you that in nearly 
all our missions we find hundreds of men and women, self-styled Catholics, 
who haven't been to confession for ten, twenty, thirty and forty years. One 

Precis Historiques (Brussels), 13:60. 

11 7 ' J.MVL T 9 " f\ T 

77 Idem, 13:61. 


can state without exaggeration that a fifth part of the Catholics who present 
themselves in our missions are found to be in this deplorable state. 78 

In the fall of 1869 Father Smarius began his.last round of missions 
with health greatly impaired by the insidious advances of a deep-seated 
organic malady. But he met his engagements with dogged perseverance. 
His last public appearance was at Albany, New York, where his physical 
weakness was so extreme that he had to be carried into the pulpit. 
Returning to Chicago, he there patiently awaited the end, which the 
physicians declared would not be long in coming. When news of his 
condition reached the East, the scene of his most brilliant apostolic 
triumphs, fervent prayers were offered on all sides that God might 
spare him to the Church. The Freernan's Journal of New York called 
upon its readers to storm heaven on behalf of this missionary, who was 
"still in middle age and with so special a gift for touching the hearts 
of men. ... In the fewness of Catholic missionaries armed and de- 
voted to their work we Catholics find a reason for asking the Lord not 
to cut off Father Smarius in the middle of his days." But the sands 
of the missionary's busy life had run out. He died March i, 1870, 
having approached within two days of his forty-seventh year. "During 
the last weeks of his life," said Father Coosemans in reporting his 
death to the General, "this good Father was reduced to a very painful 
state. He could move neither arms nor legs which were in great part 
paralyzed. It was necessary to feed him like a child. He was perfectly 
resigned to the will of God 5 and while during life he was very much 
afraid of death he was perfectly calm and free from all fear from the 
moment he learned there was no longer any hope for him. His death 
is a great loss to the Society and the Church in the United States." 79 

The tributes rendered to the dead missionary by the Catholic press 
of the United States reveal the place he had filled in the religious life 
of the land. The Catholic Tablet of New York deplored the loss of 
"this eminent Jesuit and apostolic priest. [His] fame is as wide as the 
country which owes so much to his zeal and fruitful labors. This news 
will carry sorrow not only to his brethren of the Company of Jesus 
among whom he towered by his eloquence and learning like some tall 
son of Anak, but to thousands of the laity who have been drawn by the 
fervor of this man of God from the ways of sin or nearer to God." 80 
"He died comparatively young," commented the Cincinnati Catholic 
Telegraphy "but in a few years he had completed a long term filled and 

13:66. The Precis (Feb. I, 1864, pp. 61-68) contains two letters of 
Smarius about his missions. Cf. also tudes (Paris), Sept.-Oct., 1863. 
70 Coosemans a Beckx, March 6, 1870. (AA). 
80 Catholic Tabltt, March 5, 1870. 


crowded with deeds of heroic devotion to the duties of his high calling, 
the memory of which will not soon pass away. As a controversial writer, 
as a lecturer, as a giver of missions, he had in this country few equals 
and no superiors j and amid all the praises which his giant talents won 
for him from his friends that revered him and religious foes that ad- 
mired while they feared him, he was ever the humble, faithful disciple 
of the School of Loyola in which he was trained to heaven." 81 

The work of the popular missions, pursued all through the sixties 
with visible tokens of success, was not interrupted by the death of Father 
Smarius. In the season 1874-1875 (the work ordinarily ran from the 
fall to the late spring of the following year), Father Damen had six 
or seven fathers assisting him with more or less of regularity on the 

^Catholic Telegraph (Cincinnati), March 3, 1870. A Jesuit contemporary 
of Father Smarius who also achieved distinction in the pulpit was Father James 
Bouchard. The red man's native gift of eloquence showed itself in this son of 
Kistalwa, a Delaware chief, and Marie Bouchard, born in the United States of 
French parents. He, was born according to De Smet in Muskagola, "a small village 
in the United States"; but according to a Jesuit register, in St. Jacques (parish?), 
Louisiana. He bore in his early days the Indian name of Watomika or "Swift- 
footed." He was educated at Marietta College, Ohio, was there ordained a Pres- 
byterian minister and then sent on duty to St. Louis, where passing the Jesuit 
church one day he entered it in a mood of curiosity at the moment the children 
were flocking in for their catechetical instruction. It was the beginning of his 
attraction to the Catholic Church, into which he was received at the age of 
twenty-three, becoming a Jesuit in 1848. "Last month," Father Van do Velde 
informed the Father General in June, 1847, " a young man about 24 years old, 
formerly a minister with the Methodists and afterwards with the Calvinists, was 
converted to the Catholic faith. His father was an Indian of mixed blood of the 
Delaware tribe; his mother, who is still living, is of American or European stock. 
They were married in Indian or pagan fashion, always lived together and begot 
three children. The young man now asks to be admitted into the Society. He is 
pious, modest, intelligent and seems to be firm in the faith. He studied Latin and 
Greek for awhile and wishes to devote himself to the salvation of the Indians. I 
consulted the Right Reverend Bishop, whose opinion is that nothing stands in the 
way of his studying philosophy and theology and afterwards being raised to the 
priesthood. He will remain here in the college until your Paternity decides whether 
or not he can be admitted." Van de Vcldc ad Roothaan, June 14, 1847. (AA). In 
1 86 1 Father Bouchard at his own request was assigned to the California Mission and 
in it spent the remaining twenty-eight years of his life. His popularity as a preacher 
on the Pacific coast was very great and probably no other Catholic clergyman in 
that section of the country was ever more effective in the ministry of the pulpit, 
which carried him from California to Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Wash- 
ington Territory and British Columbia. There is a sketch of Father Bouchard in 
De Smet's Western Missions and Missionaries based on an autobiographical memoir 
in the Archives of the North Belgian Province, SJ. The best account is in Letter* 
Edificante Torinese eLella Comfagnia di Gesu (Turin) [April, 1893], pp. 253- 
260. For Bouchard's autobiography, cf. Mi^America, October, 1937. 


missions. In the season 1876-1877 the missionaries were organized into 
two bands, one of six fathers led by Father Damen, the other of two 
or three under Father John Coghlan. The territory visited this year 
included Middle West, East and South. The first mission was given at 
Edina, Missouri, Then followed a large-scale one at All Saints, Chicago, 
where Father Damen was assisted by Fathers Zealand, Niederkorn, 
Bronsgeest, Hillman and Masselis. From Chicago the missionaries 
named, with the exception of Father Niederkorn, who was replaced by 
Father John Condon, proceeded to Brooklyn, New York, where three 
missions were preached, all marked with gratifying results. In addition 
to the regular mission-program, the fathers preached and lectured in 
various churches in and around Brooklyn. A small mission was given 
in fashionable Rockaway, Long Island, and on one occasion the entire 
missionary staff went on board the war-vessels at the Navy Yard and 
heard the confessions of the marines, sailors, recruits and prisoners. Then 
followed revivals at the Immaculate Conception, Philadelphia, and at 
St. Francis de Sales's, Boston, after which the fathers travelled south 
to begin a mission at St. Patrick's, New Orleans. Here thirty converts 
were counted, among them General Longstreet. Archbishop Perche and 
his clergy were gratified with the results obtained and believed that a 
signal impetus had been given to Catholic life in the metropolis. The 
missionaries, on the other hand, thought they noted in the people a 
certain lukewarmness and indifference that stood out in sharp contrast 
to the piety and fervor they were wont to encounter in the eastern and 
western states. While in New Orleans two of the priests went on board 
the United States gunboat Plymouth to afford the Catholic sailors an 
opportunity of complying with their Easter duties. Then followed en- 
gagements at Mobile and Pensacola, and later in Chicago, Osage Mis- 
sion and Parsons, Kansas. 

In April, 1877, Father Damen and his companions were back in the 
East, exercising their missionary zeal in Philadelphia and later in Lynn, 
Massachusetts. A two-weeks' mission at the Annunciation, Chicago, in 
June brought the season to a close. The years' work showed the follow- 
ing general results: communions, 71,545$ converts, 2765 first com- 
munions of adults, 9065 confirmations, 1,782. Meantime the second 
missionary group, led by Father Coghlan, had evangelized various 
points in West and East, including Morris, Illinois, St. Mary's Land- 
ing, Missouri 5 Detroit, Omaha, Denver, Boulder, Georgetown, Central 
City, Pueblo (the last five in Colorado) ; Troy (New York), Shamokin 
(Penn.), Davenport (Iowa), East St. Louis, Bunker Hill, Bethalto, 
Gillespie, Litchfield (the last five in Illinois) 5 Oliphant, Pa., Pleasant 
Valley, Pa., Rochelle, 111. The season's labors yielded these results: 


communions, 44,7205 converts, 208 j first communions of adults, 5585 
confirmations, 274. 82 

The missions, it is unnecessary to say, were not conducted in hap- 
hazard fashion, but according to a method which was perfected gradu- 
ally in the light of accumulating experience. The larger missions lasted 
as a rule two weeks and a half, the order of exercises as followed in 
the early seventies being this: 5 A.M., Mass, and sermon 5 8:30 A.M., 
Mass and sermon; 3 P.M., Way of the Cross; 7:30 P.M., rosary, 
sermon and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. The first week was 
for the women, the second for the men, i.e those whose week it was 
were alone admitted to the evening services and had the privilege of 
going to confession first. The advantages of this arrangement were 
regarded as three-fold; it gave all a chance to attend the exercises; it 
made it possible to seat all the men, who, having in most cases worked 
hard all day, were tired out at night; finally, the women, having already 
made the mission, were stirred to fervor and as a result were ready 
to urge their husbands, sons, or brothers to avail themselves of its 

The subject matter of the sermons was drawn largely from the 
Jesuit's official manual of ascetical practice, the Spiritual Exercises of 
St. Ignatius, the exercises particularly stressed being those which belong 
to the first week or stage of spiritual training. Father Frederick 
Garesche, S.J., a western missionary contemporary with Father Damen, 
though not associated with the latter in his work, sketches in this fashion 
the sequence of topics dealt with in the course of a mission: 

The topics treated in the morning lectures are the integrity and sincerity 
of confession, and instructions on the proper way of making use of that sacra- 
ment, together with catechetical and familiar explanations of the command- 
ments. In the evening discourses we intersperse doctrinal sermons with the 
matter treated in the first week of the exercises. At the high mass of the first 
Sunday we speak of the advantages and objects of the mission and the spirit 
with which the people should enter on it, trying to move the hearts of the 
people by appeals to the memory of their deceased parents, their own early 
childhood, their possibly near end. In the afternoon at vespers the same sub- 
ject is continued with a more direct treatment of the necessity of attending 
to their salvation. In the evening we dwell upon the creation of man, and the 
use of creatures. On Monday evening we lecture on the doctrine and use of 
penance in the Catholic Church, treating the subject catechetically and con- 
troversially. On Tuesday evening the subject is the nature and enormity of 
mortal sin. On Wednesday we treat of the Sacrament of the Eucharist. On 

82 Abregz At PQeuvre des Missions donnecs far le Rev. ?ire> Dflntcn, SJ. y 
&t ses cinq Comfagnons (ms.). (AA). By "confirmations" are meant persons pre- 
pared for the reception of this sacrament, 


Thursday we speak on personal sins, making, as it were, a general confession 
of a sinful life. On Friday the sermon is on Judgment or on Hell, or on 
both combined. Here also we introduce the different kinds of sin, especially 
those more enormous crimes of the age which are beginning to corrupt even 
the Catholic body and to which on less solemn occasions we scarcely dare 
more than allude. On Saturday we have no evening sermon. On the Second 
Sunday we treat at high mass of devotion to the B [lessed] Virgin as taught 
and practised by the Church ; in the afternoon on devotion to the Sacred 
Heart of Jesus, and in the evening upon the one, true, visible and infallible 
Church of Christ. Monday evening sees the close of the mission in a sermon 
on perseverance and the ordinary means for attaining that final grace, the 
avoidance of occasion of sin, prayers, weekly mass, monthly or quarterly con- 
fession. Then come the Papal Benediction, and Benediction of the B [lessed] 
Sacrament. We sometimes have little children prepared, nicely dressed in 
white, one of whom reads in the name of the congregation an act of consecra- 
tion to the Mother of God. We celebrate a mass of requiem for deceased 
friends and relatives on Tuesday morning, at which we speak on devotion 
to the blessed souls in Purgatory, and in the evening give a public Lecture on 
some of the current Catholic topics of the day, on some doctrinal matter or 
point of controversy. Every day from 2 to 3 P.M. or after the evening ser- 
mons non-Catholics are invited to come and propose their doubts. On Tues- 
day we commence the confessions by the children who have made their first 
communion and are under sixteen years of age. On Wednesday and the 
other days that we remain in the place we are ready from 5 A.M. to 
10.30 P.M. to hear confessions. The only intermissions are for meals, a half 
hour after breakfast, an hour after dinner, and another hour, including sup- 
per, before the evening service. When the situation of the confessionals allows 
it, we continue to receive penitents during the sermons, taking a recess, how- 
ever, of a quarter of an hour after two hours 5 work, according to rule. By 
hard and constant work we find that two missionaries, in a week such as I 
have described, can, unaided, prepare one thousand for communion. For any 
number exceeding this they have to appeal to neighboring clergymen. The 
pastor has always enough to do in superintending everything and in running 
after delinquent sheep. The Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday are spent 
in resting or travelling to the next mission. Hard work you will say, and yet 
I have known men who were worn out in College life regain their health 
and strength in this treadmill of the missions. The only exhausting part of 
the labor is the time spent in the confessional. 88 

A curious feature of these early parish-missions was the large num- 
ber of adults who made their first holy communion on such occasions. 
This delay in receiving the sacrament was due in most cases to neglect 
on the part of the parents. It was difficult or rather practically impossible 
for the pastors to get the children to take the necessary instruction. The 
frequent absence, too, of parish schools, not yet organized on their 

88 WL, 2:130. 


present effective basis, helps to explain the phenomenon. In the 1876- 
1877 series of missions conducted by Damen and his colleagues there 
were 1,464 first communions of adults; in the 1877-78 series, 1,980. 
The manner of dealing with these belated first communicants is ex- 
plained by Father Garesche: 

During this sermon, in accordance with an invitation extended for weeks 
together before the mission and enforced by an announcement at every one 
of the exercises, the assistant missionary receives in the school-room, the 
parlor of the pastoral residence or some other suitable place, those persons 
over sixteen years of age who have never made their first communion. I 
regard this as one of the greatest fruits of the mission, and decidedly the most 
difficult and trying of all the exercises. The average of such classes is perhaps 
greater than you would suppose. In one mission where there were noo 
communicants and where the pastor was noted for his zealous care for his 
flock, knowing almost every one by name, and where, too, there was little 
or no floating population, we unearthed about 20 such cases. I should think 
that the general average would prove to be about 40 to every thousand com- 
municants. 84 

Another remarkable thing about these missions was the number of 
non-Catholics received into the Church. Conversions, however, did not 
seem to be confined merely to the period of parochial revivals. At the 
end of the Civil War receptions of converts at the Jesuit church in 
Washington were averaging five or six a week. Accessions to the church 
were said to be particularly frequent among the soldiers then being 
mustered out of service. But it was during the missions that the bulk 
of the harvest was gathered in. Some casual statistics in the matter have 
already been given. A series of parochial revivals preached by Fathers 
Damen and Smarius in the early sixties averaged twenty conversions 
to a mission. For the season 1876-1877 the total number recorded by the 
western missionaries in their activities throughout the country was 4845 
for the season 1877-1878, it was 451. In 1879, after their missionary 
excursions from Chicago had been in progress twenty-two years, it was 
reckoned that Father Damen and his associates had made twelve thou- 
sand conversions to the Faith. Great importance was attached by them 
to the public reception into the Church of non-Catholics during, but 
especially, at the close of the mission. As one of the missionaries wrote: 
"If, moreover, Almighty God gives the grace of conversion to a number 
of Protestants, the ceremony of their baptism or reception into the 
Church creates great enthusiasm amongst the Catholics, who glory with 
a laudable pride that so many are gathered into the fold." 85 The 

84 Loc. cit. 

88 Idem, 7: 164. 

Francis X, Weninger, S.J. (1805-1 

Arnold Damen, S.J, (1815-1890) 


Cornelius Smarius, SJ. (1823-1870) 

John Coghlan, SJ. (1829-1897) 


practice of present-day Jesuit missionaries in America in this regard is 
different, inasmuch as they generally prefer to require from converts 
a longer period of instruction and to leave their actual reception into 
the Church to the pastors, a thing which ordinarily takes place only 
several weeks after the mission is over. 

The conversions that ensued as one of the many happy results of the 
missions were largely due under God, there is reason to believe, to the 
controversial sermons delivered by Father Damen and his confreres. 
It was customary for him to give two discourses of this type during 
each week of a mission. Three of these discourses or lectures, the Catho- 
lic Church and the Bible, Confession) and Transubstantiation, were 
circulated in printed form, reaching a sale of one hundred thousand 
copies. They are marked by a simple, straightforward, practical air 
calculated to impress the average person where a more pretentious 
presentation of Catholic teaching might fail of its purpose. The fact 
that these lectures are still in frequent demand as likely to appeal to 
the non-Catholic mind indicates that they possess permanent value in 
the literature of Catholic apologetics. A passage from one of them will 
bring home their practical character: 

But here is your misfortune; you are a one-sided people; you never 
examine both sides of the question. Tell me candidly, now, did you ever 
read a Catholic book in your life? "No, Sir. I would not take up a Catholic 
book!" "But you have read a great many books against Catholicity ?" "Yes, 
I have and that is the very reason I do not want to read any more about it." 
Well, that shows you are a one-sided people. How can you give an impartial 
judgment, when you have examined but one side of the question? What 
would you say of a judge who sits in the criminal court when a policeman 
brings in a poor fellow, and says to the judge: "Judge, this man is guilty 
of such a crime." "Well, then, hang him," says the judge. "But," says the 
poor man, "judge, I am innocent, and I am able to prove my innocence. I am 
able to bring you evidence and witnesses to prove that I am innocent." But 
the policeman insists that he is guilty. "Well, then," says the judge, "hang 
him anyhow," (Laxightcr.) What would you say of such a judge? "Ah!" 
you would say, "unjust, cruel, bloodthirsty man you are guilty of shedding 
innocent blood. Why do you not hear the man? Why do you not hear his 
evidence, and his witnesses, and his proofs? You are guilty of the blood of an 
innocent man, and you have condemned him without examination." Well, 
now, my dear Protestant friends, allow me to tell you, (and I hope you will 
not be offended, for no man of sense can be offended by the truth), that is 
the way you have been treating the Catholics all the time. "Hang them, 
anyhow," you say. "Did you ever read a Catholic book." Never in your life 
and then you condemn us, condemn us without knowing what we are. 
Is that the part of a sensible man? Is that just, I ask you? It is very hard to 
tell you that you have been acting so unjustly to us Catholics; but, certainly, 


none of you can be offended, for you know it is a fact. You have been con- 
demning us; you have been turning us into ridicule; you have been holding 
us up to the odium of the people, without knowing what the Catholic religion 
is at all. That is the way Jesus Christ was treated, and that is the way you 
are treating the followers of Jesus Christ. Oh! my dear Protestant friends, 
do become more just, more fair, more honest and charitable towards your 
fellow man. Condemn him not without knowing that he really deserves to 
be condemned. Do not examine one side of the question, but give a fail- 
hearing to both sides. Do I ask anything unreasonable? Is that not fair and 
just? I would therefore recommend to you to procure yourselves Catholic 
books. You have read a great many books against us; now examine the other 
side of the question. Procure yourselves Catholic books, in which our doctrines 
are thoroughly stated and thoroughly defended. I recommend to you the three 
following books: "Protestantism and Catholicity"; second book, "Points of 
Controversy"; and the third book, "The Manual of Instruction." You can 
get these three books during the Mission, at the door of the Church. If you 
do not remember the titles of the books, only mention the three books recom- 
mended, and the young man will hand them to you. 80 

In 1875 certain features of Father Damen's missions were called 
into question by one or other of his fellow-Jesuits as being open to 
objection. These features were the sale of books and other objects of 
piety in the course of the mission and the paid lecture, which usually 
followed by a day or so the close of the mission. At a conference in 
Chicago presided over by the Father Provincial, Thomas O'Neil, Father 
Damen was called upon to justify his practice in this regard, which 
he did to the satisfaction of all present, being directed thereupon to 
write at once to the Father General in explanation of his missionary 
methods. He said in his letter to Father Beckx: 

As regards the sale of books, we have nothing to do with that. It is the 
pastor of the parish who chooses some one to sell pious books, rosaries, medals, 
and other objects of piety and the profit from the sale is applied by the pastor 
to his church or school or to the poor. We have nothing to do with it it's 
the affair of the pastor of the church and not our affair at all. The same 
thing is done in all the missions which are given by missionaries of other 
religious orders, the Redemptorists, Lazarists, Passionists, Dominicans and all 
others. The only profit we derive from it is the copyrights [royalties] on books 
written by our Fathers [Weningcr and Smarius] and that amounts to very 
little. Still it gives us means of bestowing a little alms from time to time and 
giving gratis books of instruction to Protestants. The pastors and bishops want 
it absolutely and they take charge of it for the benefit of their churches and 
schools. To forbid it is to forbid the missions to our Fathers. Father Wcninger 
will tell you the same thing. 

86 "Lecture on Confession" In Life and Lectures of the Great Jesuit Mis- 
sionary Rev. Arnold Damen, SJ. (Chicago, 1896), p. 52, 


It is customary in the United States and the Canadas to invite orators 
or popular lecturers of some reputation to give lectures, controversial, dog- 
matic or historical. An admission-fee of 50 cents for the lecture is charged 
and the receipts go towards the building of churches or schools, to the aid 
of hospitals, asylums, orphans, the poor, etc. It is a method of procuring means 
and alms for works of piety, religion, mercy and charity which is approved by 
Archbishops and Bishops, Catholics and Protestants. Everybody does it. 

All churches, schools, religious institutions are very much embarrassed 
by debts and the Bishops and Reverend pastors generally ask me to give a 
lecture after the mission to help them in the difficulties they meet with in 
keeping up the parish schools or paying the church-debts or supporting the 
orphans or doing some other thing of the sort. I never refuse them and they 
give me half the receipts of the lecture to help me pay off the debts on our 
establishment in Chicago. 

I never give lectures of this sort unless the Bishops and pastors so desire 
it. If the Bishops do not desire it, it isn't done. 

It has been written to you that the Bishops and Vicar-Generals have 
condemned lectures of this kind. This is untrue. For the same Bishop about 
whom they wrote to you asked me very urgently at the time I was giving 
a mission in his Cathedral to continue to give these lectures in his diocese 
and to begin in his episcopal city after the mission so as to help his schools, 
which he could not support without such means. 87 

In 1875, when Father Damen was penning this explanation, applica- 
tions were already coming in for missions to be given two years later. 

If I could double myself and give four missions at one and the same time, 
I could not satisfy all the requests with which they press me to come to their 
assistance. Is not this a refutation of the charge that my manner of giving 
missions with a lecture hurts the good name of the Society? For 18 years 
I have been giving missions in the United States and Canada, always in the 
principal churches and Cathedrals, and everywhere the Bishops and pastors 
beg me to come back. There was a Bishop [McQuaid of Rochester] much 
opposed to the Society who would not allow the Jesuits to enter his diocese, 
especially after the Vatican Council. Well, at the urgent petition of two of 
the most respected pastors of his diocese, he allowed me to give two mis- 
sions, which produced such an amount of fruit that this same Bishop invited 
me to preach the Jubilee in his Cathedral and is now our greatest friend. 
He wants us whenever we pass through his episcopal city to put up at his 
palace and he makes us ride in his own carriage. 88 

In acknowledging Father Damen's presentation of his case, Father 
Beckx was warm in his commendation of the devoted missionary's work. 
"There was never any doubt in me or others as to your zeal and ener- 
getic labor. What is more, your eagerness for the divine glory and for 

87 Damen b Beckx, August 17, 1875. 

88 Mm. 


souls has always, as far as I know, been a source of edification. 53 At the 
same time, however, Father Beckx was insistent that the practices that 
had given rise to complaint, if continued at all, should be carried on 
under definite restrictions. 89 

Father Damen continued his apostolate of the spoken word with 
undiminished zeal up to within a brief period of his death. While con- 
ducting a mission in Wyoming at the advanced age of seventy-five, he 
was stricken with paralysis and died in Omaha six months later, Janu- 
ary i, 1890. The work of the Jesuit popular missions in the United 
States was largely a creation of his energy and zeal. "For ten years/' 
he affirmed in 1868, "I have been Superior of the missions in the United 
States. To speak the truth, it was I who began these missions or spiritual 
exercises to the [English-speaking] people. Eleven years ago such exer- 
cises were given but rarely. " 90 Seven years later, in 1875, the eastern 
Jesuits entered for the first time in a large way into this absorbing 
ministry, putting a band of six energetic workers into the field. In the 
West the tradition of systematic service to the parishes through the 
preaching of popular missions set up by Father Damen and his Jesuit 
cooperators has remained unbroken. Today a group of middlewestern 
Jesuits are regularly employed in giving parish-missions. As to the 
memorable parochial revivals conducted in the sixties and seventies 
with palpable, one might almost say, spectacular results, it is an in- 
teresting speculation just what was the contribution made by them 
to the process by which the immigrant in the United States has been 
enabled in large measure to keep the Faith. 01 The zealous diligence of 
pastors, parish schools, Catholic papers and books and Catholic societies, 
to say nothing of the sacraments of the Church, have all no doubt made 
their influence felt 5 but no inconsiderable measure of the spiritual forces 
that were at work to maintain the Faith in the Catholic population of 
the country must have been supplied by the "travelling missionaries 57 
of the Society of Jesus and other religious orders. When the pioneer 
middlewestern Jesuits with their Generals behind them set themselves 
to the ministry of the popular mission as the most crying need of the 
hour for the Catholic Church in the United States, they undertook a 
work that justified itself in its results. 

89 Beckx ad Damen, October 20, 1875. (A A). 

90 Damen a Beckx, June 25, 1868. (AA). Father Damen must be speaking here 
only of Jesuit missions in the English language. Popular missions were being 
preached by the Redemptorists as early as the thirties. Cf. sufra, I. 

91 Gerald Shaughnessy, S.M., Has the Immigrant Kept the Faith? A Study 
of Immigration and Catholic Growth in the United States (New York, 1925), 
The author's conclusion, "no great loss to Catholicity [through leakage] has 
occurred in the United States" (p. 255), while apparently supported by scholarly 
research, has not met with general acceptance. 





The Society of Jesus has always set great store by writing as a means 
of advancing the interests of religion. To realize its great literary pro- 
ductivity one has only to glance at SommervogePs voluminous bibliogra- 
phy of writers of the Society, of whom some twenty thousand are listed 
therein, many of them with scores of titles after their names. 1 But 
authorship is not an activity that one associates with frontier or pioneer 
conditions 5 where energies are absorbed in the bare struggle for exist- 
ence there will be scant opportunity for the making of books. And this 
was precisely the condition that beset the middlewestern Jesuits for at 
least the first half-century of their career. Where a mere handful of 
men were engaged in the rather desperate enterprise of staffing parishes, 
colleges and Indian missions that required for their adequate manage- 
ment a personnel two or three times as large, one would not expect 
to find much literary productivity if any at all. Nor was such, in fact, 
to be found. One names De Smet's Letters, Weninger's volumes, 
Arnoudt's Imitation of the Sacred Heart, Smarius's Points of Contro- 
versy, a few sermons and addresses in pamphlet form, and the literary 
output of middlewestern Jesuits down to 1870 is practically covered. 
Whatever they wrote, and this is true particularly of Fathers Weninger 
and De Smet, was the by-product of unusually busy careers, which were 
by no means literary. A Jesuit writer in the sense of one detached from 
other occupations and calling his time his own for labors of the pen 
was unknown among them. 

The earliest printed matter bearing the name of a western Jesuit 
would seem to belong to 1841. In that year a report by Father Ver- 
haegen, The, Indian Missions in the United States of America under the 
care of the Missouri Province, Soc. Jesu, was published at Philadelphia 
in pamphlet form. It contained two letters of De Smet, the first of his 
to be issued in print. In the same year, 1841, there appeared in St. 
Louis in printed form a sermon delivered by Father Van de Velde in 

1 Carlos Soxnmervogel, S.J., Bibliotheque de la Comfagnie de Jsus y 9 v. 
(Brussels, Paris, 1890-1900). 



the St. Louis cathedral in commemoration of the sixty-fifth anniversary 
of the Declaration of Independence. The pamphlet was issued at the 
instance and under the auspices of the Hibernian Benevolent Society 
of the city. Father Van de Velde's subject was "True Liberty" and he 
took for his text the words of St. Paul in Second Corinthians: "Where 
the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty." 2 The discourse, highly 
charged with patriotic fervor as suited the occasion, is in the flamboyant 
manner in vogue at the period. Yet literary quality is not wanting and 
one can appreciate its merits all the more when account is taken of the 
circumstance that the author was using a language other than his native 
Flemish. When Van de Velde died as incumbent of the see of Natchez, 
he left behind him a collection of sermons with the request that they 
be published for the benefit of the clergy. 3 

The first book by a midwestern Jesuit to appear was Father De 
Smet's Letters and Sketches with a narration of a years residence among 
the Indian tribes of the Rocky Mountains y published at Philadelphia 
in 1843. The Oregon Missions was published in 1847, Western Mis- 
sions and Missionaries in 1863, and New Indian Sketches in 1865. These 
books of De Smet were widely circulated in the United States and 
Europe and attracted national and even international notice. No other 
writer of the western Jesuit group achieved as high a degree of literary 
popularity. 4 

The Potawatomi and Osage missionaries left behind them manu- 
script dictionaries and grammars in the native Indian languages, none of 
which material has seen publication. However, Father Christian 
Hoecken brought out at Cincinnati in 1 844 a Potawatomi catechism and 
at Baltimore in 1846 a prayer-book (Livre d'enjant) in the same lan- 
guage. Two Potawatomi prayer-books by Father Maurice Gailland were 
also printed, one at St. Louis in 1866 and the other at Cincinnati in 
i868. 5 

Father Cornelius Smarms, eminent chiefly as a pulpit-orator, was 
also a finished writer in the vernacular. 6 An address, "The Pagan and 
Christian Families," which he delivered before the members of the 
Mercantile Library Association of St. Louis, was issued as a pamphlet 
in 1857. His Points of Controversy, published in New York in 1863 

2 The only copy extant, as far as known, of this address of Van dc Vcldc's 5s 
in the St. Louis University Library. 


4 For a bibliography of De Smet's writings, cf. the Chittcndcn-Richnrdson 
edition of his letters, i: 144-14.6; also Sommervogel, of. cit* 

6 J. C. Pilling, Bibliography of the Algonquin Language (Washington, 1891), 
pp. 198, 232. 

ft For Smarius's career as a preacher, cf , supra, Chap. XX, 4. 


and still in esteem as an effective presentation of the Catholic doctrinal 
position, was one of the first books of this type to appear in the United 
States. The success it met with induced Father Smarius to prepare a 
second volume of similar design, which was left unfinished at the time 
of his premature demise. 

Two lectures, "The Progress of the Age," and "The Danger of 
the Age," delivered by Father Louis Heylen at St. Louis University 
before the St. Xavier Conference of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul 
met with high commendation for their literary and other qualities. They 
were published at Cincinnati in 1865. Father Heylen is a striking exam- 
ple, among others, of the Belgian immigrant achieving a more than 
ordinary mastery of the language of his adopted country. John Les- 
perance portrays him in his series of pen-pictures of St. Louis University 

Perhaps the greatest loss which the University sustained within my recol- 
lection was that of Father Heylen, who died at the age of thirty-eight. He 
was that rare bird, an original genius, pure and simple. Eccentric, absent- 
minded, untidy and not particularly handsome except for a massive forehead, 
he was the man to dominate any circle by sheer force of intellect. He learned 
everything by intuition and retained everything by prodigious strength of 
memory while his faculty of assimilation and communication to others in the 
most beautiful language was peculiar to himself. His sermons and lectures 
always reminded me of Bossuet in grasp of thought, swiftness of analysis and 
grandeur of expression. Had Father Heylen lived he would have achieved 
a name over the whole country. But he was content to die. 7 

Father Heylen preached on Trinity Sunday on the great Christian 
dogma of the day and the following Friday, June 5, 1863, rendered 
up his soul peacefully to the Lord. During his short illness he was a 
subject of edification to all about him. Father Coosemans reported his 
death to the General: " <Oh, what a happiness to die in the Society/ he 
said, <I did not know it would bring me so much consolation.' He 
persevered to the end in sentiments of the tenderest piety. He was a 
good religious, a good theologian, an excellent professor of poetry, 
rhetoric and philosophy, all of which he had taught with much 
success." 8 

Probably the most significant book produced by a western Jesuit 
was Father Peter Arnoudt's The Imitation of the Sacred, Heart of Jesus. 
In the field of Catholic ascetical literature it is an acknowledged classic 
and continues to this day to sound its appealing message of ardent per- 
sonal love for the Savior. The work was composed in Latin under the 

7 St. Louis Republican) September 13, 1879. 
8 Coosemans i Bcckx, June xi, 1863. (AA). 


title, De Imitations Sacri Cordis Jesu Libri Quatuor, and was patterned 
after the immortal treatise generally credited to Thomas a Kempis. As 
the epilogue informs the reader, the book was written in fulfillment of 
a vow, the author having pledged himself to this token of gratitude in 
the event of his recovering from a critical illness. The manuscript was 
sent to Father Roothaan in 1849 w ^^ an accompanying dedicatory 
epistle addressed to him as General. The idea of the epistle did not find 
favor with the latter, but he apparently anticipated no difficulty in the 
publication of the manuscript. This he put in the hands of a Belgian 
father in whose knowledge of Latin and theology he reposed great con- 
fidence. "I am hoping that with his aid your Reverence's work will be 
published in Belgium to the edification and advantage of the faithful." 
Not hearing further about the matter for a considerable time, Father 
Arnoudt expressed his anxiety to the General, who answered him, 1852, 
that his work had not been overlooked. 

As I was pleased with the plan of the work and such parts of it as I 
was able to read cursorily in those trying days, I had the manuscript turned 
over according to the Society's custom to the censors. But their judgment 
is that the book, product though it be of the most pious labor, does not appear 
to be of such a nature as to make its publication worth while, and this chiefly 
for the reason that its contents seem to be hardly anything more than what 
is found in the Imitation of Christ but adapted to devotion to the Sacred 
Heart. Moreover, the altered style makes less for edification than the ingenu- 
ous though uncorrected simplicity [of the Imitation of Christ}. Let your 
Reverence, accordingly, after the offering you have made of your zeal and 
labor, make this new offering of humility to Jesus meek and humble of 
heart and not take it amiss that the little work in question is laid on the shelf. 
For both offerings your Reverence will receive a rich reward from Him who 
is Himself our reward exceeding great. I shall have the manuscript returned 
to you when opportunity offers. 9 

What happened to Father Arnoudt's manuscript subsequently is 
not clear. According to the biographical sketch published in the Precis 
Historiques by Father De Smet, it was, after being sent to Rome in 
18465 mislaid for fifteen years, the author being in the meantime quite 
indifferent about its fate and making no inquiry whatever in regard 
to it. As a matter of fact, the manuscript, as already stated, was rejected 
by the censors to whom Father Roothaan had submitted it, and this 
information the General communicated to Arnoudt on inquiry made by 
the latter as to what had become of it. Under Father Beckx it was 
examined anew and with favorable outcome as it appeared in print in 
Cincinnati in 1863. This first edition, the original Latin text, reproduced 

9 Roothaan ad Arnoudt, January 20, 1852. (AA). 


a passage from Father Roothaan's above cited letter of 1852 to the 
author, as also the commendations of the four American censors to- 
gether with a statement that the book had also received the indorsement 
of European censors. In 1865 an English version appeared from the pen 
of the Belgian father, Joseph Fastre, of Cincinnati. Father Arnoudt's 
book soon achieved a wide vogue among readers of devotional litera- 
ture both in the United States and Europe and within a few years 
translations followed in German, Spanish, Flemish, Hungarian and 
Portuguese. He died in Cincinnati, July 29, 1865, leaving behind him 
a reputation among his religious associates as also among the sister- 
hoods and laity of the city for holiness of life. On August 16 following 
his death Archbishop Purcell addressed these lines to Father De Smet: 

The Catholic Telegraph contains two brief obituaries of your late brother 
in the Society of Jesus, the saintly Father Arnoudt. I bless God that I had the 
occasion of becoming acquainted with a priest so thoroughly imbued with the 
spirit of our Divine Master and so zealous and capable to excite in the souls 
he directed the love of our Lord, the special object of his devotion and 
subject of his instructions being the Sacred Heart of Jesus. His work in four 
books after the plan of the Imitation of Christ by Thomas A Kempis will 
continue to attest his profound knowledge of the mysteries of grace and love 
contained in that Divine Heart and the immense benefits conferred on its 
faithful and fervent adorers. The religious communities of this Diocese, 
though so highly favored by and so grateful to the other Fathers of the 
Society who preach for them the annual retreats, will greatly regret the death 
of Father Arnoudt; for it is impossible for them to forget the admirable 
instructions he so often gave them on the interior life, the duties and obliga- 
tions of their holy state, the necessity of tending continually to render their 
own hearts faithful copies of the Heart of Our Lord and of His Blessed 
Mother and the immense treasures which they would accumulate in heaven 
by fidelity to their holy vows. In my remarks at his funeral I represented 
the Heart of Jesus saying to Father Arnoudt, as God said to St. Thomas 
"Thomas, you have written well of me; what reward will you have?" and 
Father Arnoudt "none other than thyself, Oh Heart of Jesus." 10 

How close Father Arnoudt lived to God did not altogether appear 
until after his death when a cross which he had worn on his person 
for many years was found to contain a written vow never to commit 
a deliberate venial sin. It contained also a vow to propagate devotion 
to the Sacred Heart and a copy of the simple vows of the Society of 
Jesus. 11 

Father Florentine Boudreaux's two books. The Harness of 
Heaven and God Our Father have long held a high place in the litera- 

10 Purcell to De Smet, August 16, 1865. (A). 
Histories (Brussels), 15: 128-132. 


ture of Christian piety. The author wrote them out of the abundance 
of his own heart, putting into them his own spiritual experience for the 
enlightenment and comfort of others. Florentine Boudreaux's brother, 
Isidore, was for twenty-three years master of novices at Florissant. 
Florentine together with his brothers Arsene, Eustache and Isidore, four 
of nine orphans of Terre Bonne parish in the Louisiana lowlands, were 
sent by friends to St. Louis University to be educated. Florentine, no 
great hand at books, left the University to become a farmer and then 
a tin-smith, in which latter capacity he was employed for a while in the 
roofing of the state house at Jefferson City, Missouri. While still an 
apprentice in his trade he quite suddenly, on January 25, 1841, feast 
of the conversion of St. Paul, received what he felt to be an unmistak- 
able interior summons to become a Jesuit. Twelve days later Father 
Verhaegen, vice-provincial, personally conducted him to the novitiate, 
where Father De Vos was novice-master. 

Father Boudreaux later did service in the colleges as professor of 
chemistry. He was an original, forceful and thoroughly honest type 
of man and loyal to the core. Like most earnest characters who venture 
along the difficult ways of Christian perfection, he was not spared pro- 
longed interior trials. For five years a cloud of depression and desolation 
completely enveloped him. When it lifted and he realized how his 
unwavering confidence in Divine Providence was amply justified by-the 
event, he determined to pass on the message to others. The outcome 
was God our Father y an elaboration of the theme that God's relation 
to the soul is that of a loving father to his child, with the resulting 
lesson of trust in His Providence. 12 Though without pretense to literary 
form, the book is engagingly simple and straightforward in manner and 
realizes some of the best qualities of ideal prose. For some reason the 
publication of God our Father was delayed. Meantime a second book 
by Father Boudreaux, Haziness of Heaven) was published anony- 
mously at Baltimore in 1871. It achieved instant success and translations 
subsequently appeared in French, German, Italian, Spanish, Danish, 
Dutch and Flemish. God our Father was then (for the second time) 
submitted to censorship and with success, the faculty of Woodstock 
College in Maryland supplying the censors. 13 It appeared in 1878 and 
translations followed in German and Italian. Father Boudreaux's two 
books are interesting examples of how native talent without special tech- 
nical preparation or the usual aids of authorship will sometimes find its 

12 Henry Churchill Semple, S.J., Heaven opened to Souls> etc* (New York, 
1916), pp. 76-85. 

18 Semple, of. dt.> p. 8 1. It is stated by Semple that God Our Father was 
rejected by the Missouri censors, which probably is true, though no verification 
of the statement is at hand. 

Peter Arnoudt, SJ. (1811- 
1865). Author of the spiritual 
classic, The Imitation of the 
Sacred Heart of Jesus. 

Florentine Boudreaux, SJ. 
(1821-1894). Author of the 
devotional books, God Our 
Father and The Happiness of 

Charles Coppens, SJ. (1835- 
1920). Author of text-books and 
organizer 'of normal school 
studies at Florissant, Mo. 


way to noteworthy literary results. What is more, they appear to have 
been the outcome of some or other design on the part of Divine Provi- 
dence, so at least Father Boudreaux felt when he tried his hand at a 
third book and failed. 

For sheer volume of literary output probably no Jesuit in America 
has equalled Father Francis Xavier Weninger. Sommervogel lists fifty- 
six titles under his name, some of these being works in several volumes. 
Some twenty of the titles antedated his arrival in America in 1 847, the 
earliest of them belonging to 1828, in which year, already a priest, he 
graduated from the University of Vienna. "Every one of my writ- 
ings," he says in his Errinerungen, "was occasioned by some particular 
happening of the day, which challenged me to employ the lever of the 
press for the advancement of the good cause." Some of Father Wenin- 
ger's books had a remarkable vogue. His Catholicism^ Protestantism and 
Infidelity: An Affieal to American Catholics^ published in 1863, ran 
into seven editions in a year and there was a fifth German edition before 
1869. The work appeared also in French, Italian and Hungarian. At 
least eight of his books found their way into French. The range of his 
writings was immense: controversy, pastoral theology, catechism, 
prayer-books, devotional treatises, lives of the saints, sermons, a transla- 
tion of the Roman Martyrology. This prolific literary activity in behalf 
of the Church did not go without commendation from the Holy See. 
"I have had the consolation to receive several rescripts from Popes 
Gregory XVI and Pius IX, who expressed their thanks to me for the 
publication of some of these books and gave me their blessing. Thus 
Gregory XVI honored the book Summa Doctrinae Christianae with 
the words, '^urissimis fidei Catholicae princifiis jwventutem erudire 
satagis* ['your endeavor is to instruct youth in the purest principles of 
Catholic faith']. Pius IX wrote to me on the occasion of the appearance 
of the book Catholicism y etc.: c To the end that you may proceed with 
all the greater eagerness to convert the people there by all your various 
plans and efforts, we bestow on you the Apostolic Benediction. 3 " 14 It 
was gratifying to Father Weninger to have his Cathechism commended 
by the same Holy Father who expressed a wish that it be circulated, 
especially in the United States. The American edition of the text carried 
testimonials from the prelates of the dioceses of Milwaukee, Covington 
and Fort Wayne, with the recommendation that it be used in the 

How it was possible for Father Weninger to combine this literary 
fecundity with his equally astonishing work in the pulpits of the country 
was a puzzle which he himself was frequently called upon to explain. 

14 F. X. Weninger, S J., Errinerungen aus Mtiner Leben in Europe watt 
America durch Achtzig Jahre, 1805 bis 1885. (A). Other data on Weninger's 
publications are given sufra> Chap. XX, 2. 


I am often asked the question: "Father, where do you find time for all 
these books and compositions, as you are constantly engaged in giving mis- 
sions?" My answer, at once jesting and serious, to this question was and is as 
follows: "I write when you gossip and when others are trying to while away 
the time I am trying to save it; I count the minutes and so have hours 
to myself." It is especially the successive temforis momenta, the particles 
of time during the day, which procure us far more time than one would 
think, provided only they are faithfully made use of. I often recall what 
[Dr.] Job, my God-given spiritual director, told me when I was a young 
man. He said he knew a theologian who spent in reading books of St. Augus- 
tine the time which the professors spent in their assembly-room before going 
to their lectures and which on each occasion amounted to some ten or twelve 
minutes. He carried about with him a handy edition of the works in question 
and thus during his theological course read them through in these fragments 
of time. Fili y conserva tem^ora. Of this exhortation of the Holy Ghost I have 
always taken heed. 15 

Father Weninger was of the opinion that as it was by "a grace 
of vocation" that he was able to preach with such frequency and ease, 
so it was by a similar "grace o vocation" that he wielded such a facile 

The career of John Lesperance, fifteen years a Jesuit, was enveloped 
in sadness and an air of failure. He was born in St. Louis, October 3, 
1835, studied at St. Louis University, became a novice at Florissant in 
1851, and spent five years as instructor in St. Louis and Bardstown. He 
had begun his immediate preparation for the priesthood as a student o 
theology at Georgetown University, when, on his health beginning to 
fail, he sought permission from his superior to travel. "This good 
brother," wrote Father Keller to the Father General, February 24, 
1865, "is ill no doubt in body but not less so in soul, harrassed as he 
is by temptation and so deserving pity. He is a man of distinguished 
talent, who, were he to persevere in the Society, would harm the devil 
not a little. I fear there is already an end in great part to that fervor 
and love of the religious life which we all once admired in this young 
man. The world has the upper hand as also worldly thoughts and 
reasonings under the semblance of a greater good. Further, he is some- 
what melancholic by nature as is the way of poets (for a poet he is 
and one of no mean merit)." 

Mr. Lesperance was given permission, it would appear, to take a 
trip to Canada 5 but he continued restive under the restrictions placed 
upon him by the superior in the matter of travelling and finally at his 
own request was allowed by the Father General to withdraw from the 

15 Weninger, of. cit.> p. 678. "Fill, conscm tcmpus." Ecclesiastic us, IV, 23. 


Society. The date of his release is February 24, 1865, and the reason 
assigned for it in the official record is "poor health." 

"Although he continues/ 7 Father Coosemans informed the General, 
"to profess a sincere attachment to his vocation, he has relied not less 
on his own ideas about travel as a thing necessary to his health. As a 
consequence he asked for his release, which I did not think it right to 
refuse him after receiving your Paternity's answer." 16 Lesperance after 
ceasing to be a Jesuit settled in Canada, where he achieved distinction 
as a litterateur and writer on the Canadian press. He married and became 
the father of several children; but the old-time melancholia gripped 
him more as the years went by until his mind became impaired and 
he was confined in an asylum where he died in the destruction of the 
building by fire, March 10, 1891. 

John Lesperance had literary gifts of a high order as appears from 
his published work in prose and verse. These include two novels, The 
Bostonnais and Old Creole Days, the latter of which, dealing with 
the French social life of pioneer Missouri, ran as a serial in the St. 
Louis Republican,) 1879. A sentimentality touching at times on the 
morbid characterizes his literary product. As a youthful Jesuit he had 
made metrical ventures, among them the frankly hypochondriac lines, 
"A sigh o'er the days of my childhood, etc.," which many hundreds of 
students were to become familiar with as they read them in school-days 
in Father Coppens's Rhetoric. But the mature Lesperance was capable 
of authentic verse as in his exquisite poem, "The Little Lord," with its 
opening stanza: 

"Within the chapter of a cloister old, 
Torre d'Amalfi is its name so fair, 
A curious tapestry on the wall unrolled, 
Related in devices quaint and rare 
How that the Savior in the manger lay 
Naked and lorn upon wisps of hay." 

Lesperance always retained the kindliest feeling for the religious 
order of which he was one time a member. The signed article, "The 
Jesuits in North America," contributed to the American Supplement of 
the Encyclopedia Britannica, ninth edition, was from his pen. Perhaps 
the most typical thing he ever wrote was a communication addressed 
by him to the St. Louis Republican, September 13, 1879, on the occa- 
sion of his receiving a copy of Father Walter Hill's History of St. Louis 
University. The reading of this volume recaptured for him the memory 
of the days when he was a student and later on an instructor in that in- 

16 Coosemans a Beckx, March 9, 1865. (AA). 


stitution and he proceeded to pen delightfully intimate and discerning 
sketches of some of his old-time Jesuit associates. What one catches 
above all in this excellent piece of prose is the recurrent note of pathos 
and wistful regret over a vanished past. After quoting the couplet from 
// Trovatore, 

"Ai nostri Monti ritorneremo 
L'Antica pace ivi godremo," 

he concludes: 

" 'Back to our mountains our steps retracing, we shall enjoy there 
the peace of yore. 5 Somehow, everytime I hear these words I am re- 
minded of the old college walls again. But alas! time and distance are 
terrible barriers and the ancient peace of happier years may not be had 
for the asking. The Gypsy's prayer is unheard, the troubadour dies in 
sight of the blessed hills, and exiles, like myself and others, glide on 
into the lotos land with only dreams to remind us of the youthful bliss 
that shall return again no more forever." 17 


The Society of Jesus belongs to what are known as the exempt 
religious orders of the Church, so named because within certain limits 
now clearly defined in canon law they are withdrawn from the jurisdic- 
tion of the local Ordinary. On the other hand, in certain matters, as 
in the exercise of the parochial ministry and, in general, in the adminis- 
tration of the sacraments to the laity they are subjected by the same 
canon law to episcopal control or vigilance. It is the desire of the Church 
that the relations between the religious orders and the bishops should 
be those of harmony and mutual cooperation with a view to that zealous 
and disinterested ministry on behalf of souls which is the common pur- 
suit of regular and secular clergy alike. Deference to the. bishops and 
loyal submission to all their legitimate demands were accordingly de- 
manded of his followers by the founder of the Jesuits, as might be 
expected of one who in all things reflected the mind of the Church as 
happily as did he. If individual Jesuits have failed on occasion in this 
regard, it has only been by ignoring, consciously or otherwise, the high 
ideal set up by Ignatius Loyola and continued as an uninterrupted 
tradition in his Society down to our own day. It will not be surprising, 
therefore, to find Jesuit Generals often inculcating on the members of 
the Society due regard and reverence for the bishops and a spirit towards 
them of spontaneous and generous service. Father Roothaan touched on 


7 James J. Daly, S.J., "Lespcrance '52," in St. Louis University Fleur de Us 
(St. Louis University), 3: 174-183. St. Louis Refubtica*, September 13, 1879. 


the matter more than once in his letters to American superiors. To 
Father Kenney, the Visitor, he wrote in 1830: 

What I have more than once recommended to the American Fathers, 
Your Reverence will now have to insist on with the utmost earnestness; 
to wit, that Ours make every possible effort to gain the good will of the 
Right Reverend Bishops. Setting aside every other human consideration, let 
them have before their eyes the example of St. Ignatius and St. Francis 
Xavier, let them do nothing on behalf of their neighbor unless with the 
authority and good pleasure of the bishops. As to faculties granted us by the 
Holy See, let them not even make use of them if by doing so they see they 
are going to displease them even in the least. So acted St. Francis Xavier, 
apostolic legate though he was 5 so a fortiori must we act who in the exercise 
of the sacred ministry are dependent on the Ordinary. 18 

The GeneraPs words were not without practical bearing on the situa- 
tion in Missouri where Father Van Quickenborne had given umbrage 
to Bishop Rosati by not lending that prelate the measure of Jesuit aid 
for his cathedral services to which he felt himself entitled or which at 
any rate he expected to receive. It would probably be unfair to that 
pious and well-intentioned but very literal-minded superior to say that 
he was altogether at fault in the matter at issue between him and the 
Bishop of St. Louis, but Father Roothaan at all events thought that 
he should have gone farther than he did in meeting the wishes of the 
devoted and hard-pressed prelate. 19 Father De Theux, second superior 
of the Missouri Mission, seemed to share his predecessor's attitude in 
standing on the literal rights and privileges of the Society. Bishop Rosati 
had asked, perhaps instructed him, to have some of the Jesuit pastors 
in attendance at the cathedral on Holy Thursday for the blessing of the 
holy oils. De Theux demurred, alleging that the pastors were busily 
engaged on that day and could not be spared from their congregations 5 
but he proposed to send some novice-priests in their place. His action 
in the affair, so he explained to the General, was dictated by the con- 
sideration that he did not wish to acknowledge a right which perhaps 
the Bishop did not possess. On the other hand, Father Verhaegen, as 
rector of St. Louis University, was ready to accommodate the Bishop 
of St. Louis in every possible way 5 but he found his hands tied by 
Father De Theux, much to the GeneraPs dissatisfaction, which he 
expressed directly to De Theux himself. "I have urged Ours to show 
themselves more deferential to the Bishop. Your Reverence seems to 
have prevented the Rector of St. Louis from doing anything over and 
above what you yourself prescribed as though in matters of this kind 

18 Roothaan ad Kenney, July 3, 1830. (AA). 
Cf. infra, Chap. XXXIV, 2. 


one had to proceed with scales and balance. Would Xavier ever have 
thought of such a thing?" ao 

Under Father Verhaegen as superior in the West relations between 
Jesuits and bishops, notably Rosati and Purcell, were of the pleasantest. 
Father Van de Velde, his successor in office, was on excellent terms with 
Archbishop Kenrick of St. Louis, whose esteem for him took the direc- 
tion of having him promoted to the see of Chicago. On taking up the 
duties of vice-provincial Father Elet was instructed by Father Roothaan 
to cultivate "a good understanding with the bishops and the secular 
clergy." But he was not uniformly successful in this regard. He had a 
passing difficulty, apparently of his own making, with Archbishop Ken- 
rick over the contemplated transfer of St. Louis University to a new 
site. 21 Moreover, as rector of St. Xavier's in Cincinnati, he had wit- 
nessed a break, which proved however to be only temporary, in the 
previous cordial relations between Archbishop Purcell and the Society. 22 
At the Baltimore Council of 1849 Elet met with manifest sympathy and 
goodwill from the hierarchy. "I think I can assure your Paternity that 
of the 25 bishops assembled at the Council not one gave vent to even a 
single word against the Society " 23 

The administration of Father Murphy, more so than that of any of 
his predecessors, Verhaegen's perhaps excepted, was marked by a uni- 
form reciprocity of friendliness and good will between the hierarchy and 
the Society of Jesus in the West. "Be persuaded," so he assured the 
General not many months after he had entered on his office, "that pru- 
dence and faith without speaking of your orders will prevail upon me 
to respect and satisfy the bishops. Archbishop Purcell has shown me 
many tokens of kindness and has not made the least allusion to the 
departure of the German Fathers. 24 I see he is drawing near us. His 
Grace of St. Louis is always very fatherly. I hope my old friend the 
Bishop of Louisville [Spalding], whom I shall see next week, will be 
favorable to the Society despite the petty unpleasantness of the past. 
But, thanks be to God, we are not alarmed." * 6 

Beginning, then, at least with the early fifties, which period was 
coincident with Father Murphy's arrival at St. Louis, relations between 

20 Roothaan ad DC Thcux, April 7, 1832. (AA). 

21 Cf. supra, Chap. XVI, 3. 

2a Cf. fofra, Chap. XXXIII, 3. 

28 Elet a Roothaan, June 13, 1849. (AA). 

2 * Father Murphy had just with drawn some of the fathers who were tem- 
porarily administering German parishes in the archdiocese of Cincinnati. 

25 Murphy a Roothaan, March 3, 1852. (AA). Murphy's allusions to the 
"unpleasantness of the past" seem to regard certain disagreements which had 
developed between the authorities of the Bardstown diocese and the French 
Jesuits of Kentucky. 


the middlewestern Jesuits and the bishops were clearly sympathetic 
and no notable difference or controversy of later date between them 
is on record if one excepts the rather friendly dispute that arose in 
connection with the Bardstown college. In the case of Purcell at least, 
Isidore Boudreaux thought he saw an explanation in the attitude of 
the vice-provincial. "I think one can attribute this change in great part 
to the very wise conduct of Reverend Father Murphy, who is full of 
regard for the bishops and who knows at the same time how to com- 
mand respect." 26 Father Weninger on his part thought that credit for 
the change was due, among other circumstances, to the parish-missions 
which he had shortly before begun to preach. "There is no better way 
than this," he contended, "of conciliating the hierarchy ; colleges pro- 
voke jealousies, but parochial or popular missions please all alike, 
bishops, priests and laity." 27 

As a result of Leo XIIPs decree Romanes Pontifices and especially 
of Pius X's new code of Canon Law the respective rights and duties of 
bishops and regulars have been clearly and accurately determined and 
danger of controversy or friction between these two groups in the eccle- 
siastical body is thus reduced to a minimum. 28 But before the Romanos 
Pontifices much haziness existed even in otherwise well-informed quar- 
ters on the one hand as to how far the bishops could lawfully claim 
jurisdiction over the exempt religious orders and on the other as to 
just how far the exemption of the orders extended. There was a nat- 
ural tendency for the bishops, where no definite and clean-cut church 
legislation stood in the way, to extend their claims until the orders 
seemed to differ little if at all from the diocesan clergy in the matter 
of subjection to episcopal control. 20 Again, the orders, when invested 

20 Boudreaux a Beckx, February 7, 1856. (AA). 

27 Weninger ad Roothaan, May 24., 1850. (AA). 

28 Cf . Charles Augustin Bachofen, O.S.B., A Commentary on the New Code 
of Canon Law, 8 v. (St. Louis, 1918-1922), for an exposition of the respective 
rights and duties of bishops and religious orders and congregations. 

ao According to canon law the superiors of religious orders enjoy the free 
disposition of their own subjects, whom they employ in the tasks and activities 
specific to their respective orders. This altogether reasonable provision may at 
times accidentally work a hardship on bishops, who might prefer to command 
the religious for special needs of their own. An instance in point is recorded 
in the life of Cardinal Wiseman (Wilfrid Ward, Life and Times of Card. 
Wiseman [London, 1897], 2:116), who complained that the religious orders 
in his diocese were out of reach for pressing work in which he sought to have 
them employed. The more correct attitude in face of such a situation is indicated 
in a letter of Bishop Rosati's: "It is very depressing to have to struggle against 
continual difficulties. The Gentlemen of St. Lazare [Vincentians] send subjects 
of their Congregation, who would prove most useful to me and whom they drew 
originally from my own diocese, whither it suits them. The Jesuits have sent 


with the care of parishes, might be tempted to administer them without 
due dependence on the bishop with the result that the latter would be 
embarrassed in the management o his diocese, 30 

As to the general attitude of the hierarchy toward the religious 
orders, Father De Smet thus expressed himself in 1850: "It is evident 
that the American bishops, a few excepted and these form a minority, 
aim at the partial secularization of the regular priests." 31 In fine, the 
opinion, whether warranted in fact or not, that the American hierarchy 
was out of sympathy with the religious orders, was not uncommon 
in the middle decades of the last century. "Most of the American 
bishops," Father Gleizal commented in 1854, "are scarcely on the side 
of the regulars." 32 A similar opinion was expressed some years later by 
Father Sopranis. 83 It may be pointed out that whatever differences 
showed themselves at this period between bishops and the religious 
orders arose in most cases over matters of jurisdiction. There was no 
disposition on the part of the bishops to call into question the reality 
of the services which the orders were rendering to the Church. This 
was freely acknowledged on all hands. In particular, the few bishops 

some very distinguished subjects to Louisiana. I do not protest against this right j 
only it continues to be true that, perfectly ready though they be to help me, 
they cannot do the impossible. Father Vcrhaegcn must often absent himself in 
order to visit the establishments of the Society, etc." Rosati a Blanc, March 1 6, 
1840. (I). 

80 How far well-meaning prelates could misapprehend the real position of the 
religious orders in the Church is revealed in a communication from Bishop 
Kenrick of St. Louis to Bishop Purcell of Cincinnati: "I do not think that 
the end of the world is at hand, but I do think and hope that the time is not 
far distant when the Religious orders will be placed in immediate subjection to 
the Bishops and those privileges and exceptions be removed which make men 
who have vowed obedience the born antagonists of those whom the Holy Ghost 
has placed to govern the Church of God." P. R. Kenrick to Purcell, February 
17, 1844. (I). In 1846 Archbishop Blanchct of Oregon City issued and 
had circulated a memoir in which he touched on canonical relations between 
bishops and regulars to the prejudice, so it was thought in some quarters, of the 
latter. However, in sending a copy of the memoir to Archbishop Blanc in 1854 he 
disclaims any intention thereby "of exciting unfriendly dispositions against the 
Regulars, whose importance and necessity in the Church I arn aware of: but only 
to let you know the chief and primary cause of the accusations made in the 
National Council of Baltimore against my venerable brother, the Bishop of 
Nesqually and myself etc." Blanchet a Blanc, April 24, 1854. (I). The allusion 
is to differences between Blanchet and the Oblates of his diocese which were 
brought before the Baltimore council. Blanchet said of his memoir of 1846 that 
it led to his "being regarded thenceforth as the enemy of the Regulars," 

81 De Smet a Roothaan, April 22, 1850. (AA). 

82 Gleizal a Beckx, November 10, 1854. (AA). 
88 Sopranis ad Beckx, September 15, 1862. (AA). 


with whom the Jesuits found themselves in temporary disagreement 
were not thereby drawn into any subsequent attitude of unfriendliness 
towards the Society. This was especially true of Bishops Purcell of 
Cincinnati and Kenrick of St. Louis. Father Elet's passing disagree- 
ments with these two prelates are noted elsewhere in this history. The 
fact is that his apprehensions in their regard were by no means as 
well-founded as he conceived to be the case. Purcell later expressed 
to the Jesuit vice-provincial his sincere satisfaction with the work 
carried on in his diocese by the men of the Society while Kenrick con- 
veyed to Father Roothaan a similar sentiment in regard to the Jesuits 
of his own diocese. Today, thanks to the legislation of Leo XIII and 
Pius X, there is little occasion for misunderstanding between the 
hierarchy and the religious orders. 


A chapter in the history of the Society of Jesus in the United States, 
long since closed as a result of the mature development of the diocesan 
clergy and its ability to provide for its own needs, may be written around 
the attempts repeatedly made to recruit members of the Society for the 
vacant sees of the country. Under normal conditions the Catholic hier- 
archy is recruited from the ranks of the secular clergy j but conditions 
in the Church in the United States during the pioneer period were any- 
thing but normal and this was especially true of the secular clergy as 
regarded both adequate numbers and education. Embarrassed as they 
generally were by a lack of properly trained diocesan priests, the bishops 
naturally looked at times to the religious orders for candidates to fill 
vacancies in their own ranks or occupy newly erected sees. Such action on 
the part of the hierarchy, however complimentary to the religious 
orders it might appear, often worked a hardship on the orders them- 
selves by depriving them of the services of highly desirable mem- 
bers and by interfering with their domestic traditions and rules. This 
was particularly true of the Jesuits. Their founder had been at pains to 
provide as far as possible for their exclusion from all ecclesiastical dig- 
nities. The professed fathers of the Society bind themselves by a special 
vow to refuse all such dignities and preferments unless imposed on 
them in strict obedience by the Holy See. Not only the professed but 
the body of the Society generally has at all times shared this attitude 
of renunciation as regards ecclesiastical honors. For an understanding 
of the facts to be set forth presently, it must be borne in mind that 
this attitude is not a mere Jesuit idiosyncrasy, carrying with it, one 
might suspect, a subtle depreciation of church honors in themselves, but 


is an attitude which enjoys the full approval of the Holy See itself, as 
being embodied in the very text of the Jesuit Constitutions. Hence it is 
not surprising to find Jesuit Generals respectfully protesting to the 
Holy See against the nomination of their subjects to prelacies on the 
ground that such nominations ran counter to the Constitutions which 
the Holy See had itself approved. Obviously, such protests may not be 
urged beyond due limits, which are set by a clear-cut and explicit decla- 
ration on the part of the Holy See that this or that prelacy must be 
accepted. 34 

The number of Jesuits in the United States actually raised to the 
episcopate during the course of the last century is a small one. It in- 
cludes Bishop Fenwick of Boston, 1825, Bishop Van de Velde of Chi- 
cago, 1 849, Bishop Miege, Vicar-apostolic of the Indian Territory east 
of the Rocky Mountains, 1851, and Bishop Carrell of Covington, 1853. 
But numerous other members of the Society were also named for Amer- 
ican sees though their nominations were subsequently cancelled, in most 
cases on representations made to the Holy See by the Father General of 
the Society. The attempts made to secure Father Peter Kenney for the 
see of Philadelphia and later for that of Cincinnati have already found 
mention. Bishop Brute of Vincennes made repeated efforts to obtain 
a Jesuit for his coadjutor, having proposed to Rome in this connection 
the name of Father Nicholas Petit of St. Mary's College, Kentucky. "I 
give up," he wrote to Father Roothaan, "my prolonged and useless 
efforts to obtain a coadjutor from your Society." 85 In 1841 Father 

84 Writing to Bishop Blanc of New Orleans in 1838 Father Roothaan expressed 
himself on the subject in these terms: "What shall I say to you, Monseigneur, 
of the postscript your Grace has put to the letter of Bishop Brute, who has since 
written to me to try to convert me on the subject of conferring bishoprics on 
members of the Society. I have conferred on this important point with Bishop 
Loras [of Dubuque] and this worthy bishop could not help agreeing with me that 
I was right and that in my place he would offer the same resistance. Moreover, 
my hands are tied by the very stringent regulations of St. Ignatius. The Sovereign 
Pontiff himself is fully persuaded of the harm that would result therefrom to the 
Society, especially in America where it might subsequently be much loss in a posi- 
tion to lend aid to the bishops of the United States." Roothaan a Blanc, June, 
1838. (AA). 

35 Brute* a Roothaan, May 28, 1839. (AA). Bishop Rosati, in seconding Brutes 
petition to have Father Petit for his coadjutor, had written as follows to Propa- 
ganda: "Reverend Father Louis [Nicholas] Petit, who is mentioned first, I consider 
worthiest to be chosen, in preference to the others for the office of coadjutor-bishop 
of the Bishop of Vincennes; for he excels in piety, learning, eloquence, knowledge 
of the English and French languages, as also in administrative ability. To all the faith- 
ful of that same diocese, to whom he is by no means unknown, having conducted 
missions among them, he would beyond doubt be highly acceptable. Besides, that 


Verhaegen was first on a terna of names of Bishop Rosati's choice for 
a coadjutor and successor in the see of St. Louis though it is not clear 
that the terna was ever formally submitted to the Holy See. In 1843 
the three Jesuits, De Smet, Point and Verheyden were proposed by the 
Fifth Provincial Council of Baltimore for the new Vicariate-apostolic 
of Oregon. In 1847 Bishop Flaget was seeking to have Father John 
McElroy named his coadjutor and successor. 36 In 1848 Father John 

he has professed the religious life in the Society of , Jesus, that he is of the 
utmost utility and even necessity to the Kentucky Mission of the Society of 
Jesus, in which he is now living, that the rules of the Society do not allow of the 
promotion of its members to the episcopate, these circumstances, so your Eminence 
will judge, do not in any manner stand in the way of his election. ... Is 
it such a mighty task to keep intact [ms.?] the Society of Jesus that, lest one or 
other of its members be raised to the episcopal dignity, the American churches 
must pine away for lack of pastors and grow old in their very youth? Are not the 
Religious Orders and Societies members of the Universal Church? Ought they 
not on occasion make a sacrifice of their private advantage for the common good 
of the Church? In fine, have they anything to fear from the promotion of their 
priests to American churches, which have nothing to offer to the cupidity of 
man? Not wealth, not honors, not leisure. Not even Ignatius himself, who as long 
as he lived was aflame with the most ardent zeal for the salvation of souls, the 
glory of God and the expansion of the Church, would in the condition of things 
that besets us today be opposed to his followers not merely lending but even 
spontaneously offering themselves to meet the needs of our churches. If there 
were available other priests of the secular clergy fitted for a burden that is 
formidable even for angelic shoulders, the worthy sons of Ignatius would indeed 
be left in peace." Rosati ad Franzoni, November 25, 1837. Kenrick Seminary 
Archives. Cf. also Sister Mary Salesia Godecker, O.S.B., Simon Brutl de Remur, 
First Bishop of Vincennes (St. Meinrad, Indiana, 1931), p. 336 et seq. 

Bishop Rosati, having first indorsed Brute's nomination to the see of Vincennes, 
later withdrew the indorsement on the ground of Brute's lack of administrative 
and business capacity, proposing in his place Father George Fcnwick of George- 
town University. "Now in his [Brute's] place we venture to propose to your 
Eminence Father George Fcnwick, a priest of the Society of Jesus, of American 
nationality, an adept in the languages, and highly commendable for learning, 
piety and other gifts. . . . Without doubt Father Fenwick, were he to be promoted 
to the episcopal dignity, would be most acceptable to all persons and like his 
brother [uncle], the Bishop of Boston, would be an honor and an ornament to 
religion and the Church." As an alternative Rosati recommended Fenwick for 
Cincinnati in case Peter Kenncy, the Jesuit, were not available for that see. 
Rosati ad Pcdicini, January 4, 1833. (C). 

80 "I have just written to the Cardinal [Prefect of the Propaganda] to ask for 
his [McElroy^s] appointment and I have set forth in my letter that I believe 
him very worthy of being raised to the episcopate and particularly qualified to do 
good in my diocese, that he would not fail to be very well received by my 
[ms. clergy?], to whom he is known and by whom he is deeply venerated and 
that I personally should be very happy to have him for my coadjutor. I do not 
know of any ecclesiastic who could succeed as well in my diocese as the one I 


Larkin, who some years before had been prominent in Louisville, Ken- 
tucky, as a preacher and educator, was appointed to the see of Toronto, 
the appointment being later cancelled. In 1849 fc ^ e Buries of Fathers 
Accolti and Mengarini were reported as being under consideration by 
the Holy See for dioceses in the Rocky Mountain region. About the 
same time Father Thomas Mulledy, sometime rector of Georgetown, 
was designated Coadjutor-bishop of Hartford, Connecticut, but was not 
actually advanced to the dignity. 

By the time the Seventh Provincial Council of Baltimore assembled, 
May, 1 849, the American bishops had become more or less accustomed 
to the idea of looking to the Society of Jesus for episcopal recruits. At 
least three Jesuits were on the list of candidates who came under con- 
sideration by the council. Bishop Van de Velde proved himself their 
rescuer. He made known to the bishops Father Roothaan's great trials 
(the Roman revolution had some time previously driven him from 
Rome), and read them a letter from the General in which he described 
these nominations of Jesuits to prelacies as a "really serious persecution 
waged against the Society under the semblance of good." a7 Van de 
Velde seemingly made an impression and the three Jesuit names were 
withdrawn. But the council did not suspend its sessions before it had 
selected the Jesuit father, John Baptist Miege, for the newly erected 
vicariate-apostolic east of the Rocky Mountains, a selection which was 
eventually carried into effect. 

ask for, circumstances being as they arc at present, and it seems to me that my 
declining days would flow by in perfect happiness if I could have this worthy 
coadjutor at the head of administration." Flaget a Purccll, October 16, 1847. 


87 As a matter of fact the readiness of the hierarchy to multiply Jesuit bishops 
was an implicit compliment paid to the Society. Thus Archbishop Signay of 
Quebec to Archbishop Eccleston of Baltimore, 1847: "In the state of perplexity 
in which the bishops of this ecclesiastical province find themselves, that of present- 
ing to the Holy See the names of three priests of whom one may be chosen 
to fill the vacant see [of Toronto], I have recourse with confidence to your 
Lordship. In your diocese and in other dioceses of the United States there arc 
priests eminent for virtue and ability who could be proposed to the Holy See; 
especially are there Jesuits who, having received a thoroughly apostolic training, 
would probably be the best fitted to make religion advance with rapid strides in 
this new diocese which consists for the most part of missions." RACHS, 18:466. 
Again, Bishop Kenrick of Philadelphia to Archbishop Kcnrick of St. Louis, May 
24, 1848 (tr. from Latin in The Kenrick-Frenaye Correspondence [Philadelphia, 
1920], p. 277): "I consider James Van de Velde as worthy of the first choice 
on account of the natural gifts and qualities of the man, and I think that his 
promotion is to be urged, even by the Pope's instruction, at this time particularly, 
in order to give this testimonial of the American Bishops in favor of the Society 
of Jesus so much vexed and harassed." 


Whatever impression Bishop Van de Velde had made upon the 
hierarchy by his protest at Baltimore in 1849 against the creation of 
Jesuit bishops had evidently quite faded away when the hierarchy 
assembled again in the same city for the First Plenary Council of 1852. 
This time four members of the Society were named for bishoprics or 
vicariates-apostolic. Father Murphy, superior at St. Louis, was also 
reported to be under consideration for an American see. A letter of 
Bishop Miege written from the council to Father Roothaan gives some 
particulars about these episcopal nominations: 

My object in writing to your Paternity is to acquaint you with some of the 
measures adopted by the Bishops in public session, measures, the letter and 
spirit of which seem to me to be in direct opposition to the Constitutions 
of the Society. 

The erection of 12 bishoprics or vicariates-apostolic has been proposed, 
accepted by the majority [of the bishops] and is going to be submitted to the 
approbation of the Holy See. To find 12 men capable of filling so many posts 
has proved an embarrassment. As the secular clergy could not supply this 
number, they have turned to the religious orders and to the Society in par- 
ticular, four members of which have been proposed. Here are their names 
and the places assigned them : 

Father Carrell, Rector of Cincinnati, is first on the list for Covington 
in Kentucky. Father Speiker [Spicher] is named in the second place for 
Quincy, which is to be detached with the half of Illinois from the diocese of 
Chicago. 38 Father Nobili is named 3rd for Monterey, the present Bishop of 
which would be transferred to San Francisco with the title of Archbishop. 39 
Father Kohler is named second for the Vicariate-apostolic of Sault Ste Marie 
in northern Michigan. The only one of all these Fathers for whom there is 
reason to fear, so it seems to me, is Father Carrell 5 the others will not be 
reached, so I hope. Still, Very Reverend Father, the fact shows well enough 
the ideas and intentions of the American episcopate yvith regard to the re- 
ligious orders and the Society in particular. In my conversations with some 
of these Bishops and after representations made to them I have come to learn 
that they need as many bishoprics as possible and as many religious as possible 
to occupy them without caring in the least for the harm they do the religious 
orders under pretext that what the Holy See approves ought to turn out to 
the advantage of Religion. Your Paternity knows better than myself the 
remedy for all these miseries. The only reflection I permit myself on the 
subject is that there is nothing to hope from the majority of the bishops here. 
Their attachment to the Society, if they have it to any extent, will rarely 
go so far as to respect its Constitutions if any reason whatever demands their 

88 Father Peter Spicher, born at Fribourg in Switzerland, December 19, 
became a Jesuit (Province of Upper Germany), October I, 18325 died at 
Buffalo, New York, March 29, 1874. 

89 Father John Nobili, born in Rome, April 8, 1812: became a Jesuit (Roman 
Province) November 14, 18285 died at Santa Clara, California, March 5, 1856. 


violation. With some it is, I believe, less bad will than -lack of information 
about the religious orders. 40 

Writing to the General a month later than Bishop Miege, Father 
Murphy expressed his own views on the situation: 

No doubt Your Paternity knows that the Holy Father was unwilling 
to listen to the prayers of the Redemptorist Fathers and that he ordered 
Father Neuman[n] to accept the archbishopric of Philadelphia. "You Regu- 
lars," he exclaimed, "you always want to have things your own way." I 
foresee that the Society will have to make a steady fight in America on this 
head; only let a Bishop be pleased ever so little with a Father for one reason 
or another and he will push him forward. Not the least of Father CarrelPs 
recommendations is that he is an American. Cetens paribus there is a disposi- 
tion to prefer ecclesiastics of the country. There is a good deal to say for and 
against this tendency. I hope it will work in favor of the candidates against 
Fathers Spicher, Kohler, Nobili. Bishop Reynolds of South Carolina asked 
me whether there was any possibility of getting one of Ours for North Caro- 
lina, which they are going to make into a see against his advice. I begged 
him to spare the Society. It would be a fifth Father on the list. What will 
become of us! St. Ignatius must come to our assistance. An Archbishop told 
me that the opposition we make is a veritable selfishness, a preferring of a 
particular good to the general good. I might have answered him that it will 
be with others as with Father Van de Velde; I have still to find out in what 
respect his episcopal status was necessary for the general good. How many 
good measures, how many salutary reforms have been ill received and ill 
judged by the clergy of the diocese, which persists in attributing them to the 
Jesuit rather than to the bishop. 41 

*Miege a Roothaan, May 14, 1852. (AA). 

41 Murphy a Roothaan, June 8, 1852. (AA). Other religious orders besides the 
Jesuits were loath to sec their subjects advanced to the episcopate. Thus tlxe case 
of the saintly Redemptorist, Father Neumann. Father Qucloz, the Redemptorist 
procurator-general, wrote to the provincial at Vienna: "The news of Father Neu- 
mann's nomination to a Bishopric will doubtless cause you pain. All our efforts were 
fruitless. His Eminence Cardinal Altieri with the papers in his hands, defended 
our cause before the Congregation of the Propaganda. He had four of the 
Cardinals on his side, but the majority voted for Father Neumann, whom the 
American bishops had placed second on the list. Monsignorc Barnabo, Secretary 
of the Congregation, communicated to his Holiness the result of the election 
and made use of the occasion to say a word in our behalf. But Pius IX replied, 
'I bear the Redemptorist Fathers in my heart. They have done in this matter 
what God willed they should do. I am confident that He will not refuse me the 
light to discern what the good of the Church in general and the Congregation in 
particular demands of me. Therefore I sanction the choice of the Cardinals 
and I command Father Neumann under. formal obedience (sub obedientia formati) 
to accept the diocese of Philadelphia without further appeal.* " Bcrgcr, Life of 
Right Rev. John N. Neumann, D.D., of the Most Holy Redeemer, Fourth Bishof 
of Philadelphia (New York, 1884), p, 315. Cf. also the attitude of the Dominican 


In the event none o the Jesuits named by the First Plenary Council 
of Baltimore, Father Carrell excepted, was designated a bishop by the 
Holy See. Father Spicher, proposed for the see of Quincy, was one 
of the Swiss exiles domiciled in the West in 1848 and at the moment 
was discharging the duties of spiritual father to the community of St. 
Louis University. Archbishop Kenrick esteemed him greatly and was 
apparently the one who brought his name forward at Baltimore. Father 
Minoux, the Swiss provincial, was eager for his return to Europe and 
pleaded with Father Murphy to this effect. "I should be very sorry," 
wrote the latter, "to make this sacrifice. But let the mitre come ever so 
near, and I shall have him leave on the instant. Bishop Miege declared, 
but to no purpose, that the good Father according to all appearances is 
not made to be a bishop." 

Meantime, the nomination of Jesuits to American sees continued at 
intervals despite the efforts made by the authorities of the Society to 
put a stop to the unwelcome practice. Early in 1855 the Eighth Pro- 
vincial Council of Baltimore proposed Father Charles de Luynes of 
the Canada-New York Mission for the see of Charleston and Father 
Bernard Maguire of the Maryland Province for that of Richmond. 
In a letter to Pius IX, of date June 24, 1855, Father Beckx pleaded 
earnestly with the Holy Father for the rejection of these nominations, 
representing to him what an aversion St. Ignatius had "for the accep- 
tance of episcopal dignities" and what serious harm in this connection 
threatened the Society, especially the provinces in North America. In 
August, 1855, the Sacred Congregation of the Propaganda communi- 
cated to Father Beckx the high commendation passed by the Baltimore 
Council on Fathers De Luynes and Maguire as candidates for the sees 
in question, whereupon the General again protested their nominations, 
making use in his answer of August 26 to the congregation of the same 
line of argument which he had employed in his letter to the Pope. 
"So long as the Vicar of Jesus Christ has not clearly made manifest 
the divine will, the Society is fully persuaded that the greater glory 
of God, the greater advantage of the Church and of souls and its own 
greater good impose upon it the definite obligation of holding aloof as 

father, Richard Pius Miles, on receiving his appointment to the see of Nashville. 
"The loss of any efficient member of the Order at this time will be severely 
felt; and I do not see how I can in conscience accept without compulsion. The 
Archbishop has informed me officially of my nomination and I have requested 
him to send on the Bulls and other documents which he says are in his hands. 
If these contain a formal precept, I then have no choice, but if left free, I 
shall certainly remain so." Letter of November 9, 1837, in Victor O'Daniel, O.P., 
The father of the Church in Tennessee or the Life, Times and. Character of 
the Right Reverend Richard Pius Miles, 0.?., The First Bishof of Nashville 
(Washington, 1926), p. 251. 


far as possible from every dignity and prelacy." 42 Father Beckx's 
defense of the Jesuit position in regard to episcopal appointments within 
the Society met with success and neither De Luynes nor Maguire was 
made bishop. 

The movement to make the Society of Jesus a sort of recruiting- 
ground for the American hierarchy may be said to have reached its 
climax, as far as the midwestern Jesuits were concerned, in the Second 
Provincial Council of St. Louis, which convened in October, 1855. This 
council, under the presidency of Archbishop Kenrick, petitioned the 
Holy See for the erection of a number of new dioceses, all or most of 
which were to be assigned to Jesuits. In particular, the southern section 
of Bishop Miege's vicariate-apostolic was to be made into a diocese, with 
Miege himself as bishop-in-ordinary. Moreover, the northern section 
was to be established as the Vicariate-apostolic of Nebraska with Father 
De Smet named first as vicar-apostolic with episcopal rank. Further, 
Father Patchowski, the efficient pastor of St. Joseph's Church in St. 
Louis, was named first for the proposed new diocese of Quincy, while 
Father Arnold Damen was assigned third place on the terno, for a 
coadjutor to the Archbishop of St. Louis. These nominations were ap- 
proved by Propaganda and made known by the same to Father Beckx, 
December 12, i855- 43 Besides the recommendations thus made by the 
Provincial Council of St. Louis other American Jesuits were being con- 
sidered at this time for episcopal honors. The name of Father John De 
Blieck was third in order on a list providing for a successor to the re- 
cently deceased Bishop Van de Velde of Natchez and on February 13, 
1856, information about him was solicited from Father Beckx by Cardi- 
nal Barnabo, Prefect of the Propaganda. Father Charles Van den 
Driessche or Driscoll, as he chose to be known, the zealous pastor of St, 
Xavier's Church in Cincinnati, was reported to be second on the list for 
Fort Wayne in Indiana. Finally, Father Clarke, superior of the residence 
of St. Joseph in Baltimore, and Father Murphy, Missouri vice-pro- 
vincial, were reported to be also slated for episcopal honors, while 
Father Dupeyron, it was likewise rumored, was to be created Bishop of 

Here was an imposing line of representative Jesuits whose services, 

42 Beckx ad Propaganda, August 26, 1855. (AA). 

43 Immediately on receiving this "infausta noti%iaj* Father Beckx wrote to 
Father Murphy directing him to send on information about the three nominees 
"calculated to free them from the burden." Father Glcizal wrote to the General 
February 6, 1856: "Three of the candidates certainly have not the theological 
knowledge which a prelacy demands. These are Fathers De Smet, Damen and 
Driscoll. What I say here is the judgment of almost all with whom I have con- 
ferred. The secular candidates are better than the Jesuits as regards administration," 


if the designs of the bishops upon them were to find favor at Rome, 
would be lost to the Society of Jesus in America. Naturally the Jesuit 
superiors were alarmed. Father Murphy wrote April 24, 1856, to the 

I hear that Father De Blieck was one of those proposed for the see of 
Natchez by the Archbishop of New Orleans before the Provincial Council, 
but that after the Council his name was not found among the nominees. 
One or other Redemptorist was substituted for him. So this indeed is what 
is going to happen; the religious orders one after the other will be deprived 
of all their best men. I speak a human thing; embarrassments of serious 
import will be the result. We are waiting in this Vice-Province with fear 
and trembling to see what will finally become of so many of Ours proposed 
for the episcopacy. 44 

Father Murphy had not been slow in acquainting the General of the 
action of the bishops at St. Louis in recommending four Jesuits of the 
Missouri Vice-province for episcopal sees. Father Beckx on his part took 
up the case for the Society with promptness and vigor. After consulta- 
tion with his assistants he addressed on March 10, 1856, a communica- 
tion of grave tenor to the Cardinal Prefect of the Propaganda. Four 
bishops had been taken from the ranks of the Society within a compar- 
atively recent period of time, Miege, Carrell, Canoz and Planchet, 
while vicar-apostolics were presently to be created in China and Poona. 
The appointments now proposed threatened the Society with losses and 
perils of the utmost gravity. The General then recalled what he wrote 
in 1855 touching the laws and spirit of the Society and especially the 
mind of St. Ignatius as revealed in his words to the Emperor Ferdi- 
nand I : "If anything could be imagined capable of bringing about the 
ruin of the Society, it would be the acceptance of episcopal positions." 
As to the impoverished condition of the vice-province of Missouri 
Father Murphy's words were quoted: "I do not here press the point 
of how many grievous wounds the promotion of even a single Father 
would inflict on this Vice-Province. Even now we are falling beneath 
the burden j what will happen if this one or that is taken away? Indeed 
our entire organization will be shaken and perhaps will presently lie 
in ruin." Nor was there any reasonable expectation that Missouri would 
receive reenforcements from the European provinces, since these were 
scarcely in a position to carry their own burdens and promote their 
own missions. Moreover, "the same reason which induced some of the 

** Murphy ad Beckx, April 24, 1856. (AA). "Bp. O'Regan arrived here two 
days ago going over to Europe and [will] proceed as far as Rome he will, I 
should suppose, never return again to his Diocese after all the trials and troubles 
he has been in he would have liked to appoint F. Damen administrator, which 
was prudently vetoed." De Smet to ?, July 8, 1857. (A). 


religious in those poor Provinces of ours [in America] to ask to be 
transferred to other missions, namely, the fear of a mitre, will restrain 
others of the European Provinces from asking for or readily accepting 
the missions of America. From the time that Fathers Van de Velde, 
Miege and Carrell were promoted, vocations for those Missions have 
become very rare." Moreover, "ambition for prelacies has hitherto 
been unknown in the Society," but in America they already begin "to 
make a distinction between those who fly from ecclesiastical dignities 
and those who show themselves indifferent towards them." Again, it 
was very dubious whether the advancement of Jesuits to the proposed 
sees would really be of benefit to the Church; in the particular case 
of Bishop Miege's vicariate reasons of moment militated against its 
transformation into a diocese. 45 

Now the Vice-Province which we have in Missouri counts at present only 
52 priests, of whom 22 have made their last vows, while the rest must wait 
as best they may for a chance to complete their course of studies and the 
various tests prescribed by the Institute. I said as best they may, for in spite 
of such a scarcity of formed priests the Vice-Province in question, in order 
to provide for the ever new and extremely urgent needs of those immense 
regions, has little by little been charged with activities and ministries above 
its capacity. In order to keep these up it is necessary to employ in them even 
the majority of the young men who are still engaged in study or have not as 
yet completed the customary probations prescribed by our Institute. As a 
matter of fact the Vice-Province is not confined to Missouri alone in the 
exercise of its ministries but extends to three other States, since besides the 
University and the well attended Boarding-school of St. Louis there is a 
large College in Cincinnati (Ohio) and a Boarding-college in Bardstown 
(Kentucky), while at Louisville there was commenced still another college 
which had lately to be given up owing to an utter lack of subjects, however 
much it was felt to be useful in the highest degree and even necessary to the 
people of that city. The Vice-Province has to provide workers for the missions 
already established in Bishop Miege's Vicariate. It must furnish priests to 
certain residences and parishes in Florissant, St. Louis County, St. Charles, 
St. Charles County, 'Cole County, Washington, Franklin County, New 
Westphalia, Osage County, Louisville, etc. It has the spiritual care of a 
number of congregations and of various establishments scattered in villages 
and rural districts and places often far distant one from the other. And nil this 
without being able to [carry on] the highly important religious education 
of the young novices in the House of Probation and the very necessary literary 
and scientific instruction of our scholastics in their respective schools. 

To continue so many activities making for the glory of God and to carry 
so heavy a load with such paltry and feeble resources, many great sacrifices 
had to be made. Some of Ours have had to cut short their course of studies, 

45 Father Beckx's letter of March to, 1856, to Propaganda is in Italian. (AA). 


others have had to finish it up in summary fashion and others have impaired 
their strength and lost their health. Only too truly did the result follow which 
was to be expected; the Vice-Province was reduced to such a state as to 
render it necessary either to abandon for a while at least a great part of the 
work that had been taken in hand or to suppress altogether the Vice-Province 
itself, a matter taken under consideration by my predecessor. The vicissitudes 
of 1848 having brought some Fathers of other Provinces to that part of the 
world, the Superiors then took courage and hope was entertained of being 
able to preserve the Vice-Province and put it little by little in good order 
without suspending so many activities exceedingly useful for the good of 
souls; there was hope even of being able to organize there a Seminary of 
missionaries for those far-reaching lands. And although some of the Fathers, 
especially the Italian ones, had to return to their Provinces, even with the 
few who were able to remain the Vice-Province began to breathe and to 
justify the Superiors' hopes for a better future. But if now on the very crest 
of these fine hopes and with the limited number of trained subjects that 
obtains, 4 or 5 of the most efficient workers are taken away, the very back- 
bone of that body of men, the foundation and support of that edifice, "what 
must inevitably be the result? Not only will the Province return to the 
miserable condition in which it was a few years ago, but it will notably de- 
teriorate and quickly fall to pieces like a body from which the nerves have 
been cut away or a building from which the foundation has been removed. 46 

Such was Father Beckx's vigorous protest to the Congregation of 
the Propaganda against the proposed appointment of Jesuits to Ameri- 
can sees. If these appointments were to become effective, the ecclesias- 
tical province of St. Louis would alone have six Jesuit bishops and the 
entire United States, nine. The protest had its effect, none of the rec- 
ommendations made by the St. Louis council in favor of midwestern 
Jesuits being sustained at Rome. Father Beckx wrote to Father Wenin- 
ger in April, 1858: "The representations I made two years ago appear 
to have made a profound impression." 4T And Father Druyts wrote in 
the same year: "In the recent Provincial Council of St. Louis [1858] 
no Jesuit is said to have been nominated for the episcopacy. Deo 

Now and then after the passing of the fifties there were isolated 
cases of American Jesuits being considered for promotion, but no such 
wholesale naming of members of the Society as had been witnessed at 
the First Plenary Council of Baltimore and the Second Provincial 

46 Beckx ad Propaganda, March xo, 1856. 

47 Beckx ad Weninger, April 24, 1858. (A A). Father Weninger himself 
appears to have been threatened with a bishopric. "There is a rumor afloat which 
appears pretty probable that Father Weninger has been appointed Bishop of St. 
Paul's, Minnesota. In a recent letter to Rd. F. Provincial he begged for leave of 
absconding [>V]." De Smet to Miege, April 14, 1858. (A). 


Council of St. Louis ever occurred again. In 1863 Father Coosemans 
was on a terna submitted to the Holy See for a successor to Bishop 
Spalding in the see of Louisville, while in 1869 Father Damen was pro- 
posed for Chicago^ which see had become vacant by the retirement of 
Bishop Duggan. 48 Father Damen was also according to current report 
considered for Detroit after Bishop Lefevere's death in 1869. For the 
same vacant see of Detroit the name of Father Frederick Garesche was 
under advisement at a meeting in Cincinnati of the suffragan bishops of 
the archdiocese. Moreover, in 1866 Fathers De Smet, Giorda and 
Grassi, all Jesuits, were recommended by Archbishop Kenrick for the 
newly erected Vicariate-apostolic of Idaho. 49 But these instances, coming 
at intervals, were not of a nature to cause serious alarm to the Jesuit 
authorities, always eager to preserve intact the spirit and traditions of 
the Society. Meanwhile the diocesan clergy had been growing at a 
rapid rate in numbers and efficiency and its ranks soon showed no 
scarcity of priests of distinguished parts and manifest episcopal calibre. 
This obviously removed whatever excuse may have one time existed 

48 The vicar-general of St. Louis informed Father De Smet that Damen was 
second on the terna of names proposed for a successor to Bishop Duggan of 
Chicago. Coosemans a Beckx, August 5, 1869. (AA). Father Coosemans wrote to 
Father Beckx, August 1 8, 1869, to ask him to intervene with the Roman au- 
thorities against Damen's appointment, alleging that his services were imperatively 
needed to complete the new college he had begun and that he was not f&rsona grata 
to the majority of the Chicago clergy. Bishop Miege also protested his appoint- 
ment to Propaganda and erased his name from the terna submitted by him. The 
names of other American Jesuits occur in the Kenrick-Frenaye Correspondence as 
having been mentioned for bishoprics; thus Fathers Stonestrcet, William Clarke, 
Cambiaso and Gautrelet. 

48 Archbishop Kenrick of St. Louis in a letter to Archbishop Odin of New 
Orleans, February 10, 1866 (I), informed him that he has asked the Sacred 
Congregation of the Propaganda to erect the territories of Idaho and Montana into 
a vicarlatc-apostolic. He submitted the names of Fathers De Smct, Giorda and 
Grassi as suitable incumbents of the proposed vicariate and requested Odin to 
communicate his opinion in the matter to Cardinal Barnabo. "The two last 
[Giorda and Grassi] are known to me only through Father De Smct. They arc 
already engaged in the Indian Mission of these territories." In the event the 
Jesuit candidates were passed over and the Rev. Louis Lootcns was chosen head 
of the new Vicariate of Idaho which was erected March 3, 1868. Father DC Smet, 
on learning that his name was on the terna y wrote to the General: "If my name 
appear in the list of Monseigncur of St. Louis, as the Reverend Father Provincial 
assures me it does, I take it that it is done with the idea of filling up the list, on 
which ordinarily three names are entered. In sincere conviction of my lack of 
virtue and talents for such a task and believing that your paternity will be con- 
sulted in so important an affair, I consider myself perfectly safe against such a 
danger. Nothing in the world with God's favor, could part me from my vocation 
and from obedience to my Superiors, in which my only desire is to live and die." 
De Smet a Beckx, March 18, 1866, (AA). CR, De Smet, 4: 1526. 


for calling upon the religious orders in the United States to supply 
what seemed to be an unduly large proportion of members of the 


The circumstances attending Father Van de Velde's appointment 
to the see of Chicago have already been told. They may be briefly 
recalled as set forth in a letter which he addressed, January 10, 1849, 
to Archbishop Purcell of Cincinnati: 

After an unsuccessful struggle I have at last been constrained to bend my 
neck to the yoke to accept the appointment to the see of Chicago. Last 
Friday I yielded to the opinion of others. 

The earnest entreaties of Cardinal Fransoni, urged by the pressing solici- 
tations of the Abp. of Baltimore to submit to the decree of his Holiness, sup- 
ported by the opinion of our own Archbishop [Kenrick], made me distrust 
my own judgment, biased, as I felt conscious it was, by my excited feelings 
and by my attachment to the Society whose blessings and trials I have shared 
for more than thirty years, amongst whose members around me are others 
whom from their childhood I have aided to train to Science and virtue and 
for whom I feel the affection of a parent; to a society, which is now, in the 
day of its affliction and tribulation more than ever dear to my heart. 

Unable and unwilling to decide for myself or to oppose the judgment of 
those for whose opinion I deemed it my duty to have the greatest deference, 
I finally concluded to refer the whole matter to two eminent and impartial 
divines with whose opinion on the subject I was still unacquainted and finally 
determined, if they coincided in opinion whether affirmatively or negatively, 
to abide by their decision and to regard it as the manifestation of the will of 
God in my regard. They both decided that considering all the circumstances 
I would resist the will of God by refusing to accept the appointment. I sub- 
mit myself without further opposition. 50 

Energy and capacity for affairs had always characterized Van de 
Velde and these traits were to reveal themselves also in his career 
as bishop. To realize how crowded with activities were the four years 
he spent as head of the diocese of Chicago one has only to peruse the 
diary, which, after the example of his regretted predecessor, Bishop 
Quarter, he perseveringly kept during that period. However consoling 
from an apostolic standpoint were these visitations of the diocese, which 
he made in such thoroughgoing fashion, they were by no means pleasant 
experiences from the standpoint of personal convenience and comfort. 
By river-packet, stage, carriage, "mud-wagon," and towards the end, 
occasionally by railroad, he made his way to the knots of Catholic set- 
tlers scattered throughout Illinois often in out-of-the-way and almost 

50 Van de Velde to Purcell, January 10, 1849. CO- 


inaccessible localities. Numerous entries in his diary disclose the strenu- 
ous, uncomfortable side of these apostolic visitations. 

(1849) J une 7*h. The Bishop of Chicago arrived at Galena, having per- 
formed the whole journey from the Auxplaines [Desplaines] river in a 
mud-wagon, in which he spent two days and nearly two nights. 

September 25th. Passed through immense prairies; dined at Middleport, 
County seat of Iroquois County 5 thence through Milford and slept at Bar- 
tholomews tavern. 

( I 8so) June i6th. Fourth Sunday after Pentecost. Said Mass in the 
unfinished church of Mt. Sterling; immense crowd of people, chiefly Prot- 
estants. Confirmation to thirty-five persons; could find no dinner in town. In 
the evening left for Mr. Doyle's (on the way to Quincy) where we spent 
the night. 

(1851) November 10th. Left McHenry for Marengo, and there took the 
stage for Galena; overset and was near being killed. 

(1853) J u ty *5*h. During the night landed amid thunder, rain and vivid 
lightning, at Lejarlier thoroughly wet and covered with mud; staid till noon 
and set out for Mr. McDonald's in a rough wagon without springs, over 
stones and gullies; after dinner (i6th) left McDonald's for the church in a 
rough wagon. Found Father Verreydt at the church, slept about four miles 
from it on the road, 51 

Between the Easter of 1849 anc ^ his departure from Chicago for 
Natchez in the November of 1853 Bishop Van de Velde visited nearly 
every Catholic congregation and settlement in Illinois, travelling during 
this period over six thousand miles and administering confirmation to 
nearly thirty-six hundred persons in fifty-eight different places. While 
he occupied the see of Chicago, seventy churches were commenced in 
different localities of the diocese, of which number sixty were either 
entirely finished or so far finished as to be in use for divine service. Fifty- 
three were built in places where before there had been no church at all 
and seventeen in places where pioneer, small-sized chapels were replaced 
by more pretentious structures. Of the eighteeen churches in course of 
erection in the fall of 1853, thirteen were being built of brick, all of 
the edifices being of very respectable size and some of them one hun- 
dred and fifty feet long and sixty feet wide. Besides these churches, all 
begun under Bishop Van de Velde, eleven others that had been begun 
before his arrival in the diocese were brought to completion under him 
and by his exertions. The entire number of churches left by him in 
Illinois was one hundred and nineteen. Besides church-building, the 
founding o institutions necessary for the welfare of the diocese en- 

51 McGovern, The Catholic Church in Chicago (Chicago, 1891), pp. 108, 
114, 121, 159, 180. 


gaged his attention. He gave Chicago its first Catholic orphan asylum 
and was largely instrumental in providing it with its first Catholic 
hospital. 52 

Though the impression became widespread that Bishop Van de 
Velde's eventual resignation from the see of Chicago was due to un- 
pleasant relations that developed between him and certain members of 
his clergy, the main reason that led him to take this step was the unsat- 
isfactory condition of his health. Having lived almost twenty years in 
the milder climate of St. Louis, he was apparently unable to adjust 
himself to climatic conditions in the northern city. He wrote February 
24, 1853, to Archbishop Blanc of New Orleans, who had invited him 
to spend the winter season in the South: 

My health has grown considerably better the last few days. I scarcely 
suffer any longer from the serious dyspepsia which distressed, [in fact] pretty 
near killed me since my arrival here. Scarcely anything is now left with me 
except my old companion, the Rheumatism, which makes of old Father One 
Devel (as Father Lekeu, the Walloons, and some French pronounce the 
name) a poor lame devil indeed. It was only with difficulty that I was able 
to say Mass this morning in the church and I could not assist at the High 
Mass; the draughts pierce right through me. The weather, too, is very dis- 
mal; ice, snow, fog. Father Verhaegen, who spent some weeks here in 1851 
in the good part of the spring, would not care to come back; he said every- 
where that the climate of Chicago and the land about here, swampy and full 
of stagnant green water, are fit only for rats and frogs. The human species 
pines away and even the hogs do not seem to get used to it. And still Chicago 
is developing into an immense town (there are 40,000 inhabitants already) ; 
but one makes money here and that explains everything. 63 

In May of the same year, 1853, the Bishop had similar experiences 
to tell Reverend Stephen Rousellon, vicar-general of New Orleans: 

More than two months ago I obtained permission from Rome to take 
up my residence in the southern part of my diocese. It came too late for the 
winter, which this year nearly brought me to the grave. A month ago every- 
thing was green and blooming around St. Louis; along the lake here just 
now there is neither leaf nor blossom and we cannot do without a fire. 
What a climate for a victim of Rheumatism. 84 

The story of Bishop Van de Velde's efforts to be relieved of the see 
of. Chicago has been told by himself in the autobiographical memoir 
which he drew up after his transfer to Natchez: 

62 Idem, pp. 158-160. Cf. also Richard A. Clarke, Lives of the Deceased 
Bishop of the United States (New York, 1872-1888), 2: 37 2 -39- 
fljl Van do Velde a Blanc, February 24, 1853, (0- 
04 Van do Vclde & Rouscllon, May 18, 1853. (I). 


The new Bishop spent nearly a whole month in visiting a considerable 
portion of his Diocese in the neighborhood of St. Louis, arrived at Chicago 
on Friday of Passion Week and took charge of his See on Palm Sunday. 
When, some time after order had been restored in the Pontifical States, 
and the Sovereign Pontiff and the General of the Society had returned to 
Rome, he wrote in strong terms to beg the Holy Father to accept his resigna- 
tion and to permit him to retire among his former brethren of the Vice- 
Province of Missouri, alleging as reasons the manner in which he had been 
compelled to accept at a time when Rome was in the power of the rebels, 
his advanced age, and the severity of the climate which undermined his con- 
stitution. For several years he had been afflicted with rheumatism, which 
induced him to spend almost yearly the severest winter months in the more 
genial climate of Louisiana. He received an answer from Cardinal Fransoni, 
encouraging him to bear the burden with patience and resignation. Not long 
after this he became involved in difficulties with some of the clergy of the 
Diocese, who, on his arrival, held nearly all the ecclesiastical property and 
still held a considerable portion of it in their own names, and who, by false 
reports and insidious maneuvres, had excited much groundless prejudice 
among the people against him. He wrote a second time to Rome, tendering 
his unqualified resignation, and adding this as an accessory reason to those 
formerly alleged. He was answered that his petition would be referred to the 
first National Council, which was to assemble in Baltimore the following 
Spring. The Fathers of the National Council were almost unanimous in 
refusing to accept his resignation. When the question came up it was agreed 
to divide the State of Illinois into two Dioceses and to make Quincy the 
See of the Southern portion. Bishop Van de Velde claimed the privilege to 
take his choice between the two Dioceses and offered his name for Quincy. 
This, too, was refused, and it was determined that he remain Bishop of Chi- 
cago, and should exert his authority and have recourse to ecclesiastical cen- 
sures to bring into submission the few refractory clergymen that annoyed 
him. They seemed to consider this annoyance as the principal reason why he 
wished to resign and to be removed from Chicago and they felt reluctant to 
establish a precedent that might be appealed to when difficulties should occur 
in other Dioceses. It was then that Bishop Van de Veldc, who intended to 
visit France and Belgium after the Council, determined to extend his journey 
to Rome and to lay his case before the Holy Father in person. The Fathers 
availed themselves of the opportunity to make him bearer of the Decrees of 
the Council. He left New York for Liverpool on the twenty-ninth of May 
and arrived at Rome on the twenty-second of the following month. The 
Holy Father, Pius IX, received and treated him with the greatest of kindness 
and at the first audience he gave him seemed inclined to grant his petition, 
and either to accept his resignation, or at least to make him coadjutor or 
Auxiliary Bishop to some other Prelate, that thus he might be restored to the 
Society of Jesus, which refused to acknowledge as members of its body such 
as should be compelled to become titular Bishops, Towards the close of the 
interview the kind Pontiff remarked that he would reflect on the matter and 


consult the Propaganda. It was finally decided that the resignation should not 
be accepted. At the second audience the affectionate Pontiff told him: "You 
belong to the regular army of the Church, and I do not wish to give you up. 
You must continue to fight the battles of Christ. As, however, your principal 
reasons for wishing to resign are your desire to be a member of the Society 
of Jesus and the state of your health, which suffers from the cold and damp 
climate of Chicago, I will make arrangements with the good Father General 
to have you restored to the Society, and I may transfer you to another See 
in a more genial climate. Next Sunday night I will give my final answer to 
Monsignor Barnabo (the Secretary of the Propaganda)." On the following 
Monday Monsignor Barnabo informed the Bishop that his Holiness had 
decided not to accept his resignation, but that he would insist upon his being 
a member of the Society even as a titular Bishop and would transfer him to 
another See. He stated that this decision was final and might be depended 
upon, and he advised the Bishop to take his choice of any of the new Dioceses 
that were to be erected. He added, also, that the Archbishops of Baltimore 
and St. Louis would be requested to send in names for supplying his place 
in the See of Chicago. About this time a document was received by the 
Cardinal Prefect of the Propaganda, signed by four young priests of Chicago 
containing a number of accusations against their Bishop and petitioning to 
have him removed. The Secretary informed the Bishop of it and told him 
not to be uneasy about it, as he was too well known in Rome to be injured 
by accusations that were evidently groundless, and he added that a letter of 
reprimand should be sent as an answer to the accusers. . . . Bishop Van de 
Velde reached Chicago the week before Christmas. 

Several months elapsed after his arrival from Europe, and as he knew 
that before he reached the United States positive directions had been sent 
from Rome to have names forwarded for Chicago and perceived that no 
measures were being taken for his removal from that See and was informed 
that strong opposition would be made to it, he deemed it proper to write to 
the Holy Father to remind him of his promise, and lest his nomination to 
one of the new Sees might become a cause of dissatisfaction, he suggested 
his desire to be transferred to the See of Natchez which had become vacant 
by the death of its first Bishop, the Right Rev. J. J. Chanche. His petition 
was granted, and whilst engaged in laying the cornerstone of a church in 
Carlylc, he received information that the Brief appointing him to the See 
of Natchez had arrived at St. Louis. By the same mail the Very Rev, Joseph 
Melcher, Vicar General of St. Louis, received the Briefs by which the City 
of Quincy was erected into an Episcopal See and he appointed its first Bishop, 
and, at the same time, Administrator of the Diocese of Chicago, till a Bishop 
should be nominated for the latter See. As the Very Rev. Gentleman refused 
to accept the nomination and sent back the Briefs of erection and appoint- 
ment to Rome, Bishop Van de Velde was requested by the Archbishop of 
St. Louis to act as Administrator of the two Dioceses. Not long after the 
cold season having already set in and he feeling desirous to repair to his new 
See, the Administration of the Northern Diocese (Chicago) was committed 


to the Right Rev. Dr. Henni of Milwaukee, whilst the Archbishop took 
upon himself that of the Diocese of Quincy. Bishop Van de Velde left Chicago 
on November 3, and after having visited Quincy and bought an eligible lot 
on which to erect a Cathedral, he set out for Natchez where he arrived on 
the twenty-third of the same month. He left it on the twenty-fifth to assist 
at the consecration of the Right Rev. A. Martin, first Bishop of Natchitoches, 
which took place on the feast of St. Andrew in the Cathedral of New 
Orleans. Thence, he repaired to Mobile to make a spiritual Retreat before 
entering upon his duties in his new Diocese, after which he visited some 
of the Congregations along the shore of the Gulf of Mexico, and took formal 
possession of his See on Sunday, December 1 8, 

Early in 1853 Bishop Van de Velde had submitted to his metropoli- 
tan, Archbishop Kenrick, a terna from which the expected vacancy in 
the see of Chicago might be filled. The names were: Reverend Patrick 
O'Reilly, of the diocese of Philadelphia, president of St. Mary's Col- 
lege, Wilmington, Maryland $ Reverend Oliver Jenkins, president of 
St. Mary's College, Baltimore ; Reverend William Elder, D.D., o the 
archdiocese of Baltimore. Commenting on the terna > Kenrick wrote to 
Archbishop Blanc of New Orleans, January 27, 1853: "I have had oc- 
casion to fear lest the adjustment of that very important affair may be 
for a long time delayed by reason of none of those commended being 
willing to accept if even free to choose. Rev. P. Reilly is perhaps unable 
under any circumstances to separate himself from the college which he 
has established and Rev. W. Elder may in all probability be nominated 
for another see, etc. Much as I regret the determination of the Right 
Rev. Prelate [Van de Velde], I do not deem it advisable to offer any 
opposition to the proposed measure because delay and uncertainty would 
only serve to prolong a state of things most painful to himself and most 
injurious to religion. 77 5G Bishop Van de Velde subsequently proposed 
the name of Reverend Anthony O'Regan, president of the St. Louis 
diocesan seminary at Carondelet, who was consecrated Bishop of Chicago 
July 25, i854- 5T 

Archbishop Kenrick had it in mind at one time to recommend to the 
Holy See the appointment of Van de Velde as his coadjutor cum jure 
successions; but the latter, when the Archbishop intimated to him such 
intention, objected strongly on the ground that he would be thus de- 
barred from reentering the Society of Jesus. 58 The Bishop in his auto- 
graphical memoir declares that the brief appointing him to the see of 

68 Illinois Catholic Historical Review, 9: 67 ff. 
50 Kenrick to Purccll, January 27, 1853. (I). 

57 Van dc Velde a Blanc, March 5, 1854. (I). 

58 Bishop Van de Velde was here under a misapprehension. Cardinal Barnabo 
wrote to Father Roothaan, September 7, 1852, inquiring what was the basis of 


Chicago was accompanied by a letter "freeing him from all allegiance 
to the Society of Jesus," and his desire to be reinstated in the Society 
was one of the reasons which induced him to tender his resignation. He 
apparently believed that on becoming Bishop of Chicago he had ceased 
to be a Jesuit. 59 

In regard to Van de Velde's surrender of the see of Chicago, Arch- 
bishop Kenrick wrote to Archbishop Purcell: "I regret very much the 
resolution taken by the Bishop of Chicago, but believe that it would be 
more than useless to force him to remain there. I had not thought right 
to seek him for a coadjutor, because he had great repugnance to be 
such own jure successions and I had reason to fear that he would be as 
willing to abandon St. Louis as he is to leave Chicago, should circum- 
stances give him what he appears most to dread the character of a 
titular Bishop. Love for the Society appears in this instance to have 
been more powerful than charity for the church." G0 It is clear that 
Kenrick did not realize to what extent reasons of health had influenced 
Van de Velde to petition Rome for his transfer from Chicago. 

At Natchez Bishop Van de Velde found himself in harmony with 
clergy and laity alike. "I am happy . . . poor but contented . . . pos- 
sessing the affection and confidence of all my clergy." In April, 1854, 
he wrote to Archbishop Blanc, apropos of his unfinished cathedral: 

It will give you much pleasure to learn that I have the hope, not to say 
the assurance of meeting with no difficulty whatever in finding here the sum 

Van dc Velde's assertion that members of the Society of Jesus on becoming titular 
bishops automatically ceased to be Jesuits. Roothaan replied that he himself had 
assured the Bishop to this effect, being under the impression that such was the 
existing discipline in the Church. But now, in view of Van de Velde's great 
desire to remain a Jesuit and especially of "the known wish of His holiness that 
the poor Father be considered as such," he had changed his opinion on the matter 
in question and had already written to Van de Velde that "he was all along and 
continued to be a member of the Society and would be regarded as such." 
Roothaan a Barnabo, September 28, 1852. Cur. Rom., x837-iS$$. (AA). The 
term "titular" as used at this period was equivalent to "residential" and therefore 
had a meaning entirely the opposite of that which it has in present-day canon law, 
in which it describes a bishop assigned a see in some schismatic or infidel country 
where he docs not actually reside and exercise jurisdiction. 

50 From his appointment as bishop up to 1853 Van de Velde's name was 
omitted in the catalogue or official register of the Missouri Vice-province. It re- 
appeared in the catalogue for the year named, with the original date of his 
admission into the Society, Aug. 23, 1817. It would appear from letters addressed 
by Bishop Francis Peter Kenrick of Philadelphia to his brother Archbishop Ken- 
rick of St. Louis (The Kewick-Frenaye Correspondence, edited by F. E. 
T[ourscher], Philadelphia, 1920) that Bishop Van de Velde had offered himself 
as coadjutor or auxiliary to the Archbishop of St. Louis without the right of 

to Purcell, February 15, 1853. (I). 


necessary for its completion without having recourse abroad. Mgr. [ ? ] El- 
liot, (the brave man with his one foot in the grave came to see me last week), 
Fr.[ancis] Surget, Jr., Henry Chotard, father and son, (the former abjured 
Protestantism and was baptised with General Long and several others dur- 
ing Easter week), are all very well disposed and will come to my aid. All 
our Catholics will make an effort to contribute their mite. They have never 
been in better disposition. They are proud and happy over all we have done 
for them since the arrival of Father Damen, who left yesterday. [Rev.] 
Mr. Guillon must have given you an account of the fine ceremonies, in- 
structions, sermons, etc., which we had from Palm Sunday to Easter Tues- 
day; but last Sunday was the crowning of all. Four times the church was, 
to use the expression of confrere Maenhaut, "packed" both at High Mass 
and in the evening, "packed like an egg," At the first mass on Easter day 
we had 196 communions. Last Sunday almost as many communions; High 
Mass with deacon, sub-deacon etc., sermon and confirmation by the Bishop 
in mitre and cope. In the afternoon renovation of baptismal vows, sermon 
by Father Damen and consecration of the congregation to Mary. In the 
evening, together with illumination of the Sanctuary, a lecture by Father 
Damen and farewell remarks. Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament by the 
Bishop. Never with the exception perhaps of the day of my first communion 
and that of my solemn profession have I felt so much happiness. 01 

At Chicago Bishop Van de Velde had endeavored, but without result, 
to secure the services of Jesuits of the dispersed province of Upper 
Germany on behalf of the numerous German immigrants in his diocese. 
Further, in 1850 he had petitioned the St. Louis Jesuits, again without 
success, to take over the college founded by his predecessor in Chicago 
under the name "University of St. Mary of the Lake." At Natchez he 
made repeated efforts to have the vice-province of Missouri open a resi- 
dence in that city, of which he himself would be superior, soliciting for 
this purpose the services of three fathers, preferably Damen, Spicher, 
Wippern or Coosemans. "[There are] thousands of my flock deprived 
of all religious succor and dying without the Sacraments." Father Da- 
men after his visit to Natchez in April, 1854, where he had done much 
good by his sermons and made eight adult converts, communicated to 
the General an opinion favoring the establishment of a local Jesuit 
residence. But at St. Louis no disposition was shown to take on this addi- 
tional burden. The vice-province still groaned under an excessive load 
of petty residences and parochial stations and Father Murphy, follow- 
ing out instructions from headquarters, was pursuing a policy of re- 
trenching rather than of extending the activities of his men. Bishop 
Van de Velde planned not only a residence but also a college in Natchez 
and went so far as to buy ground for the purpose. Unable to accomplish 

61 Van de Velde a Blanc, April 25, 1854. (I). 


his designs through St. Louis, he had hopes of having them realized 
through the English or even the Belgian Jesuits. The Jesuits of New 
Orleans were also considered. "They would willingly charge themselves 
with Natchez," wrote Van de Velde, "if they had enough subjects con- 
versant with English, which is the only language spoken here." Mis- 
sissippi, including Natchez, was indeed taken by the New Orleans 
Jesuits to be within their territory ; but, comments the Bishop, "Natchez 
is neutral terrain situated between Missouri and Louisiana and can be 
attached to the one or other Province." Father Beckx, however, while 
unable to further the zealous prelate's plans for a Jesuit residence and 
college in Natchez, did insist with St. Louis that it accede to his request 
for a Jesuit father to reside with him as a member of his household. 
Accordingly Father Peter Tschieder, for whose services Bishop Van de 
Velde had expressly asked, arrived in Natchez in October or November, 
1854. Shortly before he appeared on the scene the Bishop had met with 
an accident resulting in a broken leg and while in this crippled condi- 
tion contracted yellow fever, which was epidemic at that time. He died 
of the disease November 13, i854- 62 The circumstances of his last mo- 
ments were reported by Father Tschieder to Father Murphy in St. 

November 13, 1855. Bishop Van de Velde is dead. He expired this morn- 
ing at 7. Two gentlemen watched and attended on him. At 2 o'clock in the 
night I was called I said some prayers with the Bishop which he repeated 
but his mind was wandering he perceived it himself. At 2^2 violent 
spasms took him, probably the effect of a very strong medicine which he 
had taken. Immediately he lost his senses and I gave him the last absolution 
and plenary indulgence, I began the recommendation of the soul. He was 
enabled to receive the viaticum which I could not give him yesterday. It was 
evidently a favor obtained through the intercession of St. Stanislaus. He had 
made a novena to the Saint had several times expressed the wish to die on 
his feast. Whilst I was saying Mass at 5 for him, all the Sisters and orphan 
girls, who had also made a Novena for him, received communion. Father 
Grignon gave him the Viaticum. He remained suffering till 7 when he 
expired. All that time the good Catholics were flocking to receive his last 
blessing; he gave it with full consciousness he spoke even, though very 
indistinctly. The people appeared very much attached to him and the Catholic 
gentlemen showed great attention, day and night they all regret the loss 
of their good Bishop. 68 

62 Garraghan, of. &., p. 164. 

68 Tschieder to Murphy, November 13, 1855. (A). "Right Revd. Bp. Van 
de Velde was endowed with a very retentive memory and an. eminently practical 
turn of mind. He possessed several languages (Latin, Greek, English, French, 
German, Spanish, Italian, and Flemish) and, what is rare, used them correctly 
without confusion of words and idioms. He was considered a very good mathema- 


Bishop Van de Velde was of an ardent, exuberant temper, and a 
vivacity of manner that one is not accustomed to associate with the even- 
tempered and rather stolid sons of Belgium. To some of his Jesuit 
brethren he seemed to fail at times in that tactful prudence which the 
skilful executive must bring to his dealings with men and things. 64 At 
the same time to his credit is the fact that so discerning a judge as 
Archbishop Kenrick of St. Louis regretted his departure from Chicago, 
being evidently of the opinion that there was nothing in his conduct 
of affairs in the northern city that made his transfer to another see 
necessary or desirable. All in all, Bishop Van de Velde's services to the 
Church in Illinois and later in Mississippi were of a high order and 
bespoke an apostolic zeal that was as far-reaching as it was sincere. 


Father George Carrell, a native Philadelphian, named by the Holy 
See first Bishop of Covington, Kentucky, June 23, 1853, was conse- 
crated on November i of the same year. Archbishop Kenrick of Balti- 
more would have had him appointed to the see of Philadelphia 5 that 
he was given Covington was probably at the instance of his intimate 
friend. Bishop Spalding of Louisville, from whose territory the new 
diocese was detached. For some years previous to his becoming bishop 
he had been ill at ease as a Jesuit and on his own admission was not 
leading a happy life in the Society. This circumstance was due, if one 
of his confreres was correctly informed in the matter, to a rather exag- 
gerated Americanism which made it difficult for him to adjust himself 
to the racial idiosyncracies of the large alien element to be found among 
the midwestern Jesuits. More than once he requested the Father Gen- 
eral to be allowed to pass to the Maryland Province of the order where 

tician and a very good poet. As to composition, he combined ease, accuracy and 
remarkable clearness. His ecclesiastical and historical acquirements were of no 
ordinary extent it may be said that there was in him what we would call, 
somewhat strangely perhaps, an unconscious consciousness of talents and acquire- 
ments. Hence he was always ready with the pen, always prepared for performance, 
as if instinctively, without suspecting that he was displaying great power and 
great resources. Both were exhibited in his occasional controversial writings and 
in a full course of sermons." De Smet to John Gilmary Shea, May 28, 1856. (A). 
64 Murphy ad Bcckx, December 8, 1853. (AA). Cf. also Bishop Kenrick of 
Philadelphia (letter of Nov. 18, 1852) on Van de Velde: "I think the Bishop of 
Chicago should be transferred to the sec of Natchez or to Natchitochcs. But by no 
means to be made Coadjutor [of St. Louis]. He iacks good judgment." Kenrick- 
Frtnaye Correspondence^ p. 340. At Chicago Bishop Van de Velde gave umbrage 
to the Sisters of Mercy by claiming for the diocese property which had been 
conveyed to them by Reverend Walter Quarter when administrator of the diocese. 
Illinois Catholic Historical Review^ 3: 350 (1930). 

James Oliver Van de Velde, SJ. (1795-1855), 
second Bishop of Chicago (1849-1853) and 
second Bishop of Natchez (1853-1855). 

George Aloysius Carrell, SJ, (1803-1868), 
first Bishop of Covington, Ky. (1853-1868). 


he hoped to find a more congenial environment and a petition of his 
to this effect was pending at the time of his nomination to the see of 

From Covington Bishop Carrell solicited the services of Father Di 
Maria, who from about February., 1854, to September, 1856, did effec- 
tive parochial work in the diocese, building churches at Independence, 
Florence and Verona and achieving a particular success at Lexington, 
where he resided for some time. On Father Di Maria's return to St. 
Louis Bishop Carrell replaced him by Father Aelen, a one-time Mis- 
souri Jesuit, who had done zealous missionary work among the Sugar 
Creek Indians but had later on separated from the order. At the 
Bishop's request he came out again from his native Belgium. In April, 
1857, Carrell urged the Jesuit General by letter to call upon the Mis- 
souri Vice-province to come to his aid. His diocese embraced forty- 
three counties, with a population of 314,277 whites and 73,241 negro 
slaves and with a clergy numbering only ten priests, all except one, resi- 
dent pastors. He offered the Society the parish of Lexington, the most 
considerable in the diocese after the cathedral parish of Covington. 
Here was a handsome brick church, a school-house and a capacious rec- 
tory capable of lodging ten or more fathers. To Lexington were at- 
tached some ten or twenty stations, where souls were to be found that 
had not been visited by a priest for nearly a decade. "Besides the spiri- 
tual benefits which I wish the people committed to my care to derive 
from the presence and labors of the Fathers," pleaded Bishop Carrell, 
"I am desirous of having some of my former brethren near me that I 
too may share the benefit of their presence. Including the years of my 
residence at Georgetown College as a student I have spent twenty-five 
years of my life under the care of the Society. In an evil hour per- 
suaded by American friends, I left the best of mothers [the Society of 
Jesus] to accept the greatest of crosses the mitre which has truly been 
to me a cross of thorns." 65 At a time when, as Father Gleizal wrote, 
every member of the vice-province was carrying a treble burden of 
labor, it is difficult to see how any aid could have been extended to the 
Bishop of Covington from this quarter nor was it. 

In August, 1862, the Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation of the 
Propaganda put before Father Beckx the deplorable condition of the 
Covington diocese, which lay under a heavy weight of debt contracted 
in the building of the cathedral and of parish schools. The Prefect was 
calling upon the other bishops of the ecclesiastical province to come to 
CarrelPs aid 5 moreover, as the hard-pressed prelate had declared his 
intention to resign his see, Father Beckx was asked to plead with him 

65 Carrell to Beckx, April 9, 1857. (AA). 


to forego any such intention. 66 In December of the same year, 1862, 
Father Beckx was informed by the Propaganda of an unsuccessful effort 
made by Archbishop Purcell at the instance of the Congregation to 
induce Carrell to abandon his idea of resigning. As matters turned out 
the first Bishop of Covington was never relieved of his charge though 
he persisted to the end in his efforts in this direction. He died September 
25, 1868. Just about a year before Father Beckx was notified by Propa- 
ganda that Carrell, who is called in the document a "religious of the 
Society of Jesus/ 5 had again tendered his resignation and the General 
was asked to submit an opinion as to what action should be taken by 
the Congregation. 67 

It does not appear that Carrell on becoming a bishop ceased to be 
a Jesuit. Certain of his above quoted words do indeed seem to imply 
that he no longer regarded himself as a member of the Society. On 
the other hand, as has been seen, Propaganda, in reference to his 
plea to be allowed to resign, referred to him as a "religious of the 
Society of Jesus" and it negotiated the affair all along through Father 
Beckx on the apparent understanding that the latter could still appeal' 
to him as a Jesuit. Moreover, Carrell was listed in the Annuario Pon- 
tificio, the official papal register, as Bishop of Covington with the SJ. 
following his name. Finally, Father Beckx made known to Father 
Murphy in June, 1855, that Carrell had requested that his name be 
reentered in the register of the Missouri Vice-province, from which it 
had been dropped when he became bishop, and this request, so the 
General thought, should be favorably received, though he left the vice- 
provincial free to act in the matter. 08 The request was not granted, 
the last issue of the vice-provincial register to include Bishop CarrelPs 
name being dated 1853. But at the latter's death in 1868, fifteen 
years later, Father Beckx wrote to Father Coosemans, Missouri pro- 
vincial: "Your Reverence should give orders that the customary suf- 
frages be offered [for Bishop Carrell] since he never ceased to belong 
to the Society and in what concerns charity it is best to be generous." <ll) 

Both as Jesuit and prelate George Carrell was ever an excellent 
example of the priestly virtues; but the cares of administration bore 
heavily on him and difficult situations easily depressed him. 

Barnabo ad Beckx, August 4, 1862. (AA). 
6T Barnabo ad Beckx, November 26, 1867. (AA). 
68 Beckx ad Murphy, June, 1855. (A)- 
00 Beckx ad Coosemans, December 20, 1868. (A). 



The Jesuits on arriving in Missouri in 1823 found Mother Du- 
chesne and her associates of the Society of the Sacred Heart already 
lending their zealous services to the newly born Church in the West* 
At Florissant as at St. Charles, Sugar Creek, St. Mary's and in some of 
the cities of the Middle West, either in the conduct of Indian schools 
or in the exercise of the ministry, they were subsequently brought into 
relations with the spiritual daughters of St. Sophie Madeleine Barat. 
Particulars of these contacts are to be found chronicled at various stages 
of this history. 

The Sisters of Loretto at the Foot of the Cross entered Missouri 
the same year as did the Jesuits, whose acquaintance they first made at 
Florissant. Here, in 1 847, they took in hand the educational work that 
had been carried on by the Society of the Sacred Heart during the period 
1819-1846. Later, at the Jesuit Osage Mission, they entered the field of 
Indian education, achieving a noteworthy success with the girls and 
adding thereby in no small measure to the prestige which that mission 
enjoyed for years on the Kansas frontier. 70 

To the same discerning and high-minded Jesuit, Father Louis 
Varin, both St. Madeleine Sophie Barat and Blessed Julie Billiart were 
indebted for the aid he lent them in the founding of their respective 
sisterhoods. Blessed Julie's spiritual offspring, the Sisters of Notre Dame 
de Namur, made their first appearance in America in Cincinnati, where 
on Christmas Day, 1840, they occupied the Spencer Mansion on the 
south side of Sixth Street between Sycamore and Broadway, purchased 
by them from the owner, a Protestant clergyman, at a cost of twenty- 
four thousand dollars. Here some weeks later, January 18, 184.1, they 
opened a "Young Ladies Literary Institute and Boarding School." The 
summer of the preceding year had seen the arrival in Cincinnati of the 
Jesuits, who took over Bishop Fenwick's Athenaeum and the adjoining 
St. Xavier Church, which buildings were but a stone's throw from the 
home of the Sisters of Notre Dame. The latter stands today on its origi- 
nal site and is still popularly referred to as the Sixth Street Convent. 
Only a few months had elapsed since the coming of the sisters when 
they received from their superior in Namur, Sister Ignatius, a letter 
under date of March I, 1841, in which she wrote: "Express my grati- 
tude to the good Jesuit Fathers who have shown you so much kindness ^ 

70 Margaret B. Downing, Chronicles of Loretto (Chicago, 1897). Relations 
between Father Nerinckx's Sisters of Loretto and the midwestern Jesuits are 
treated at length in Sister Mary Lilliana Owens, S.L., The History of the Sisters 
of Loretto in the Trtws-Mississif'pi West (doctoral dissertation, St. Louis Univer- 
sity, 1935)- 


tell them of the very great affection we have for their Society." 71 Soon 
news of the adventurous Indian mission recently opened by De Smet 
in the Pacific Northwest was to reach Cincinnati. Appeal had been made 
to the sisters to lend their services to this promising field. Sister Louise 
de Gonzague, the Cincinnati superior, wrote with enthusiasm to Namur: 
"They really desire us a little farther than Cincinnati 5 they await us at 
the Rocky Mountains. A house seventy feet long is ready to receive us if 
the reverend mother of Namur is willing to allow us to depart. Can you 
refuse to let your children go to make our good Saviour known and 
loved by these little savages?" 72 In the sequel, not Cincinnati, but Bel- 
gium itself was to furnish the first contingent of Notre Dame Sisters to 
what was then rather vaguely described as the Oregon Country. Father 
De Smet brought them out in 1844, settling them at St. Paul's on the 
Willamette, not many miles above the site of the future Portland. Here 
they labored against discouraging odds on behalf of white and Indian 
children alike, going thence in the fifties to California, where they 
have since achieved a noble work in the cause of Christian education. 

The Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth owe their presence in Kan- 
sas to Bishop Miege, who wrote in 1873 to one f his priests, Father 
Heimann: "When you see our good Sisters of Charity, give them as 
great a blessing as your hand and your heart can afford j it will not be 
more than I wish for them. When I received them I did one of the very 
few good things that I did for Kansas." The first group of these sisters to 
reach Kansas arrived in 1858 in Leavenworth from Nashville in Ten- 
nessee. Circumstances had made it desirable in their eyes to seek a new 
field wherein to continue the work they felt called upon to do. At St. 
Louis, the superior, Sister Concordia, met Father De Smet and man- 
aged to engage the sympathies of that open-hearted man for her com- 
munity and its plans. By a providential juncture of events the summons 
to a provincial council of the archdiocese had just then brought Bishop 
Miege to St. Louis. Father De Smet interested the prelate in Sister 
Concordia's petition that she be permitted to settle her sisters in 
Kansas with the result that they were given a cordial invitation to 
establish themselves in Leavenworth. In 1868, ten years after their 
arrival in Kansas, Father Joseph Keller in Bishop Miege's name per- 
sonally solicited and obtained from Pius IX a blessing on the Leaven- 
worth community and their work. 78 

71 RACfIS, n: 332. Cf. also John H. Lamott, History of the Archdiocese of 
Cincinnati, 1821-1921 (New York, 1921), p. 254; Sister Helen Louise, S.N.D., 
Sister Louise (Josephine Van der Schrieck)) American Foundress of the Sisters of 
Notre Dame de Namur (Washington, 1931)5 PP- 74? 75? 79* 

72 RACHS, 11:329. 

History of the Bisters of C/writy of Lewenworth (Kansas City, 1898). 


On June 27, 1856, six Sisters of Mercy from New York arrived 
in St. Louis at Archbishop Kenrick's invitation. They immediately oc- 
cupied a house at Tenth and Morgan Streets and here Father Damen, 
the Jesuit pastor of St. Francis Xavier's Church, offered Mass for them 
on the day of their arrival. On July 2 they began their works of mercy, 
visiting the jail and the poor, and in August they took in charge St. 
Francis Xavier's parochial school for girls. Before long they had opened 
a House of Mercy as a "home for respectable women out of employ- 
ment." Funds for this institution were collected by Father Damen, who 
showed himself all along an energetic supporter of the various charitable 
activities of the sisters. Later a foundation in New Orleans was started 
from the St. Louis house. Father Coosemans encouraged the venture 
and used what influence he could command in seeing it through. When 
the nuns destined for the new foundation were leaving St. Louis for 
the Louisiana metropolis in 1869, Father Michael Corbett, confessor 
to the Sisters of Mercy, said to them: "You will have many tribulations, 
but do not look for them till they come. You will do much good and 
convert many souls. Never draw back." The sisters effected a perma- 
nent establishment in New Orleans where they enjoyed for years the 
services as confessor of Father William Stack Murphy, the former 
vice-provincial of Missouri. 74 

Between the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the 
Society of Jesus in the West relations were established at an early date. 
Their holy founder, Father Donaghoe, had been led to undertake his 
great life-work largely through the wise counsels of Father Dziero- 
zynski, whose duties as superior of the Maryland Mission had brought 
him in 1827 on a visitation to Florissant. Father Damen introduced 
the sisters into Chicago in 1867, Father Coppens gave them their first 
retreat in that city, closing August 15, 1868, while Father Maurice 
Oakley sent them their first Chicago postulant. 75 The Chicago Jesuits 
were especially active in securing from the Holy See official approval of 
this new religious community. A scholastic, Mr. Aloysius Lambert, 
was given the task, which he faithfully discharged, of drawing up a 
Latin version of the rules. The sisters' historian has made record of 
the aid thus received: "The Jesuit Fathers Van Gorp, Garesche, Coose- 
mans, Koopmans and Lambert lent their valuable assistance to the work. 
The Constitutions, which had been matured by experience and tested by 
many trials, were given to the Jesuit Fathers, who prepared them for 

7 *Mary Theresa Austin Carrell, Lewes from the Annals of the Sisters of 
Mercy (New York, 1895), 4: 357, 430; Mary Josephine Gateley, The Sisters of 
Mercy (New York, 1931), p. 303. 

7C In the Early Days: Pages from, the Annals of the Sisters of Charity of the 
B.V.M., 1833-1887 (St. Louis, 1912), pp. 203, 211, 215. 


examination by the Sacred Congregation of Bishops and Regulars. . . . 
To the Fathers of the Society of Jesus and to Fathers Trevis and Lau- 
rent, who obtained for us the sanction of the Church, is due our cease- 
less gratitude." The rules of the sisterhood had been originally framed 
by Father Donaghoe with the assistance of the Jesuits of Georgetown, 
who, so writes its chronicler, "strongly impressed upon him the neces- 
sity of inspiring into each member of the Community a profound re- 
gard for the authority of the rule." 76 

With still other bodies of nuns in the Middle West Jesuit contacts 
were made at an early date. At Chicago in 1858 the Sisters of Mercy 
of that city enjoyed for the first time the spiritual comforts of a retreat, 
which was conducted by a Jesuit. 77 This was apparently the first retreat 
given in Chicago to a community of nuns. At Cincinnati Mother Seton's 
Daughters of Charity found a sympathetic friend in Father Elet, the 
first Jesuit rector of St. Xavier's. "The Sisters of Charity," their official 
historian has recorded, "have a tradition of much kindness received from 
him and great helps towards sanctity. His name was placed on their 
mortuary list of Benefactors." 78 At Saint-Marys-of-the-Woods, near 
Terre Haute, Indiana, the Sisters of Providence shared the spiritual 
direction of Father Gleizal, of all the pioneer midwestern Jesuits the 
most successful, it would seem, in conducting retreats for religious 
communities. He lent the aid of his wise counsel to Mother Theodore 
Guerin, the venerable foundress of the sisterhood, and on hearing her 
deliver a spiritual exhortation to her community made the comment: 
"I have heard another St. Teresa." 7<J At Kansas City, Missouri, the 
Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet opened St. Teresa Academy in 
1867. Not long after they welcomed as a guest Father De Smet as he 
passed through the city on one of his numerous western trips. 80 A few 
years later the same sisters were to see their Chicago orphanage swept 
away by the great fire of 1871, the orphans being thereupon given a 
temporary refuge by the Jesuits in their newly opened college of St. 
Ignatius. At Bardstown in Kentucky the Sisters of Charity of Naza- 
reth were neighbors during nearly twenty years to the Jesuits of St, 
Joseph's College. "The Jesuits from St. Mary's and St. Joseph's Col- 
lege," writes the chronicler of this sisterhood, "were always cordially 
interested in Nazareth's welfare and ready to share their store of eru- 

^ Idem, pp. 52, 294, 296. 

77 Illinois Catholic Historical Review, 3:357 (1921). 

78 Mary Agnes McCann, The History of Mother Setorfs Daughters: the 
Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati > 2: 95. 

79 Life of Mother Tfoodore Guerin (New York, 1904), p. 449. 

80 Mary Lucida Savage, The Congregation of St, Joseph of Qarondelet (St. 
Louis, 1923), p. 143. 


dition with Sisters and pupils and to give of their spiritual resources. 
Once and for all it [association with the Jesuits] freed them from the 
limitation all too often and too unjustly ascribed to convent faculties 
aloofness from the larger world of thought and mental disci- 
pline." 81 

The School Sisters of Notre Dame were brought to St. Louis in 
May, 1858, by Father Joseph Patschowski, pastor of St. Joseph's Church 
in that city. They came to replace the Sisters of Charity of Emmitsburg, 
who had been conducting the schools of that parish but now petitioned 
to be relieved of the charge. On October 2 of the following year an- 
other group of Notre Dame Sisters arrived in St. Louis, taking in hand 
the direction of the parish schools of Sts. Peter and Paul's. A large 
part of the parochial school-work of the archdiocese of St. Louis has 
since been in the hands of this capable sisterhood. 82 

The Daughters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary owe their estab- 
lishment in Chicago in 1876 to Father Damen, who invited them to 
that city. The same year saw the Little Sisters of the Poor arrive in 
Milwaukee at the invitation of Father S. P. Lalumiere. 83 

The teaching congregation of the Brothers of Mary first came to 
the United States at the invitation of Father Weninger. This energetic 
missionary on becoming aware of the desire of the -pastor of Holy 
Trinity Church in Cincinnati to obtain teachers for his parish school 
wrote to the superior of the Brothers of Mary in Europe. The latter 
took kindly to the idea of extending the field of operations of his com- 
munity to the New World and sent Father Meyer and two brothers 
to Cincinnati, where they arrived in 1849. Thus was established the 
first American house of the Brothers of Mary, who subsequently in- 
creased their personnel in great numbers and were thereby enabled to 
open and conduct flourishing schools at numerous points throughout the 
states. An interesting circumstance connected with their first coming to 
America is on record. Father Weninger, on soliciting the services of 
the Brothers of Mary for the Holy Trinity School in Cincinnati, simul- 
taneously invited the Brothers of the Christian Schools to settle also in 
Cincinnati, and, so it would appear, to take in hand the same school. He 
presumably did not expect that both invitations would be accepted. 
The two groups of brothers came out in answer to Weninger's petition, 

81 Anna Blanche McGill, The Sister of Charity of Nazareth, Kentucky (New 
York, 1917), p. 134- 

82 John Rothenstciner, History of the Archdiocese of St. Louis (St. Louis, 
1929), 2:330. 

88 Thomas Mulfcerins, S.J., The Holy Family Parish, Chicago: Priests and 
Peofle (Chicago, 1923): C. M. Scanlan, "Little Sisters of the Poor: Milwaukee," 
The Salesianum (St. Francis, Wis.), 32: 107-111 (1937)- 


happened to be fellow-passengers on the same boat from Europe, and 
on comparing notes found that they were both destined for one and 
the same work. The Christian Brothers thereupon decided not to go 
on to Cincinnati but to turn their steps towards Canada, which plan 
they carried out. 84 

84 Lamott, op. cit.^ p. 239. 



The Civil War came and went without affecting in any material 
way the fortunes o the Jesuits of the Middle West if one excepts 
perhaps the single incident of the closing of Bardstown. Yet the great 
conflict could not be regarded by them with indifference and there is 
frequent comment upon it, rarely, however, of a political tenor, in 
Jesuit correspondence of the day. It is of interest to note how these 
men of retired habits, seldom touched by the lively political passions 
of the day, viewed the surging current of contemporary events, which 
interested them chiefly in their bearings on religion and the Church. 
Both Father De Smet and Father Murphy, from whose correspondence 
some extracts will presently be made, wrote more or less under the 
iufluence of the atmosphere of St. Louis, which in the early stages of 
the war was charged with the excitement born of the bitter struggle 
between North and South to gain possession of the border state of 
Missouri. De Smet's sympathies, while decidedly for the Union, were 
tempered by his wide and intimate acquaintance with persons of avowed 
southern sentiment who were to be found in numbers in St. Louis, 
especially among the friends and supporters of the University. Murphy, 
on the other hand, .appears to have indorsed in a doctrinaire and specu- 
lative sort of way the position taken by the South $ but he took withal 
an impartial and consistent stand as to the attitude which the men of 
his jurisdiction were to adopt in practice towards the governments of 
their respective states. 

The struggle at the outset of the war to save Missouri for the 
Union ranks among the most dramatic chapters in the history of the 
conflict. 1 The popular election of 1862 for delegates to a state conven- 
tion to determine Missouri's relations to the federal government re- 
vealed a preponderating sentiment in favor of the Union. In the con- 
vention itself not a single vote was cast for secession. Even in St. Louis, 
as the Missouri Republican, the chief Democratic organ of the state 
declared at the time, the great majority of the citizens were friends of 

1 Lucien Carr, Missouri a Bone of Contention (Boston, 1888), Chaps. XIII, 



the Union. 2 This fact added all the more to the resentment occasioned 
by the sudden and, as it appeared to many, high-handed seizure by 
Major Nathaniel Lyon, commandant of the United States arsenal in 
St. Louis, of a training camp of state militia named for the governor 
of the state, Camp Jackson. The camp was situated on the western edge 
of the city, directly across from the ground now occupied by the arts 
building of St. Louis University on Grand Avenue. This seizure, fol- 
lowed by the temporary imprisonment of the troops and their com- 
mander, General Daniel Morgan Frost, took place on May 10, i86i. 3 
General Frost and his family were close personal friends of Father 
De Smet, who later on intervened with the federal authorities to secure 
permission for Frost to return to St. Louis from Canada where he had 
taken refuge. 4 Three days after the capture of Camp Jackson Arch- 

2 "In St. Louis it is well-known and no candid man will deny that there has 
always been a great majority of Union men." Missouri Republica?i> (St. Louis), 
May 15, 1861. Cf. De Smet's account of the parade in St. Louis on February 22, 
1862. "It was estimated that more than 40,000 citizens took part in the proces- 
sion. It was three full hours in its passage. It was the greatest manifestation ever 
made in St. Louis, and all in favor of the Union as it was." CR, De Smet> 4.: 1505. 

3 Carr, of. cit., p. 306. According to General Sherman (Metnoirs, 1:169) 
Frost was "in open sympathy with the Southern leaders. This camp [Jackson] was 
nominally a State camp of instruction, but beyond doubt was in the interest of the 
Southern cause, designed to be used against the national authority in the event of 
the General Government's attempting to coerce the Southern Confederacy." For 
an opposite interpretation of the episode, cf. Carr, of. tit.; also, Eugene Violette, 
A History of Missouri (Boston, 1918), p. 348. "Viewed in the light of subsequent 
events in Missouri, it [capture of Camp Jackson] must be considered a stupendous 

4 General Frost married a daughter of Major Richard Graham (son-in-law of 
John Mullanphy) of Hazelwood in the environs of Florissant and was thus con- 
nected with the 'pioneer Mullanphy family of St. Louis. Extracts from the cor- 
respondence bearing on De Smet's intervention in the Frost case follow. "Gcnl. 
Grant with whom I came up on the boat from Quebec last night has today written 
to the President recommending that I be permitted to return home at once on 
parole. Whoever presents the papers on my behalf would do well to call the 
President's attention to that letter. All agree that it will also be important that 
some one should take charge of the matter with sufficient interest to prevent its 
falling into the regular beaten track usually pursued by official documents, which 
track is supposed to lead directly into John Bunyan's Slough of Despond. I am sorry 
my dear Father, to give you so much trouble and yet I would rather be under 
obligations to you than to any other human being. You will observe that in my 
letter I speak in behalf of others as well as of myself. This will perhaps be said 
to be injudicious but I feel as though I ought to say a word in behalf of those 
whose difficulties are due to their sympathies for my poor Camp Jackson. Should 
you deem it advisable however I will change it and sign papers as you may send 
me. In a word I put the whole matter in your hands to do in all things as you 
think prP er -" Frost to De Smet, Montreal, August 6, 1865. (A). "Some days ago 
I received letters from General Frost, now in Canada, to obtain permission to 


bishop Kenrick of St. Louis, who was generally and, it would appear, 
correctly regarded as a southern sympathizer, issued a pastoral coun- 
selling peace and charity to his flock amid the prevailing excitement. 5 
Reflections on the events of the war, especially as they affected St. 
Louis, occur in contemporary letters of De Smet. When he stepped 
ashore at New York on April 15, 1861, on his return from a recruiting 
journey to Europe, he found the city agog with excitement over the 
fall of Fort Sumter: 

A few hours before our arrival the great American metropolis had been 
thrown into the wildest excitement and consternation by the tidings that Fort 
Sumter in South Carolina had been taken by the Rebels and that the Stars and 
Stripes, the far-and-wide honored flag of the great Republic had been battered 
down by the enemies of the Union once Union men themselves reduced 
to mere shreds, a rag! Unpardonable outrage! One which I fear will be 
avenged in deluge of blood. On hearing the sad news of the insulting and 
arrogant deed, tears flowed freely from many an eye among the passengers 
of the Fulton and were followed by loud imprecations and threats against the 
Secessionists. I am not a man for war and am averse to its horrors and blood- 
shed; but I was deeply moved by the scenes I witnessed on the day of my 
landing on the shores of my once happy and beloved adopted country. I 
prayed and prayed most earnestly that the Lord in His mercy might allay and 
soften the rising passions, and that peace might again be restored to this now 
distracted land. 6 

Shortly after his arrival in St. Louis De Smet wrote to a Jesuit 
friend: "I arrived here from Europe on the igth instant [April]. I 
found the country in a great turmoil. ... St. Louis is paralyzed in 
her commerce little or nothing is doing the excitement is great for 

return to his family in Missouri. He has taken the prescribed oath of allegiance and 
he writes to President Johnson. I have been around to obtain signatures of some 
of our most influential citizens, who signed a petition to the President for the 
return of General Frost. I have forwarded all the papers to Maj. General James 
Hardic with the request that he will take an interest in the matter." De Smet to 
Maj. Gen. Pleasanton, August 22, 1865. (A). "I know and esteem highly Father 
De Smet, that apostolic missionary, and would do anything for him, to whom I 
am under special obligation indeed. The case, however, of Frost has so little merit 
that I do not think there will be any haste in its favorable disposition." Hardie to 
Pleasanton, October 21, 1865. (A). 

5 "Remember that any aggression by individuals or bodies not recognized by 
the laws, from which loss of life may follow, is an act of murder, of which 
every one engaged in such aggression is guilty no matter how great and galling 
the provocation may have been and bear in mind that under the influence of such 
unholy feelings as lead to such acts, the innocent are confounded with the guilty 
or those who are presumed to be such." Kenrick's pastoral in the Missouri 
Republican, May 14, 1861. 

6 CR, be Smet 9 i : 76. 


the people are divided and we may daily expect an outbreak. We sent 
60 of our Southern boarders to their homes as a matter of prudence." 7 
Later happenings in St. Louis during 1861 were also commented on: 

June 13. The news here is astounding. You may have heard of the con- 
ference between the Governor of Missouri and General Price on one side and 
General Lyon and F. P. Blair on the other side it ended in bad feeling. 8 
The Governor, on his return (so it is said) to Jefferson City, caused the 
bridge at the Gasconade to be burned. This morning we learn that he calls 
for the arriving immediately of 50,000 troops, for the defense of the state 
he thinks he can have them ready in three days. Would it not be well to look 
out for a house in Illinois where we could deposit whatever we wish to save? 
I mentioned the idea to F[ather] Rector [Coosemans], who approved of the 
idea. Missouri might be overrun in all directions and that very soon. 

June 17. The news of this morning is somewhat more reassuring more 
troops are leaving for the upper country. In the case of danger, we will look 
to papers, etc. 

June 17. I mentioned in my letter this morning that the news and quiet 
in the city was somewhat more favorable two hours after the soldiers fired 
upon the citizens and killed some say six, others say ten citizens two soldiers 
were killed. How it will end no man can foresee. 9 

There was no doubt at any time as to where De Smet's sympathies 
lay. "I have not been threatened with burning alive by the Rebels," 
he wrote jocosely to a correspondent in February, 1862. "I do not 
think they will ever hate me as bad as that." 10 At the same time he 
was careful not to embroil himself in political discussion or indulge in 
unnecessary expression of opinion on public affairs. "I am keeping my 
mouth shut about politics," he confided to a friend, "and I wish 
some of our other brethren would do the same." 11 Meantime his 
known loyalty to the North was making him the obvious intermediary 
between Washington and his Jesuit confreres in questions affecting 
their interests which arose during the war, such as the draft and the 
arrears of government money due to the Osage and Potawatomi mis- 
sions. He was equally the friend and that on terms of intimacy, of 
Generals Harney and Frost and Colonel Francis Preston Blair, outstand- 
ing figures in the dramatic scenes that marked Missouri's participation in 

7 DC Smct to Congiato, April 30, 1861. Letter-book, u: 94. (A). 

8 The conference, which lasted four or five hours, took place at the Planters' 
House in St. Louis. At the end of it, Lyon, turning to die governor, said: "This 
means war. In an hour one of my officers will call for you and conduct you out 
of my lines.'* Snead, The Tight for Missouri, cited in Hyde and Conard, Encyclo- 
pedia of the History of St. Louis, 4: 2423. 

De Smet to Murphy, June 13, 17, 1861, Letter-book, n:6i. (A). 

10 CR, De Smet, 4:1506. 

11 Idem, i: 135. 


the Civil War. He had the entree into the military prisons of St. Louis 
and his services as chaplain for the Union troops were directly solicited 
by the federal government, an employment which his superiors on 
advice from Archbishop Kenrick did not authorize him to accept. 12 To 
Colonel Blair, to whom perhaps more than anybody else belongs the 
credit of having saved Missouri for the Union, he made known in the 
spring of 1862 a contemplated visit to the Indians of the upper Mis- 
souri, petitioning at the same time the favor of being allowed to go 
with some or other commission from the government. "Feeling, as 
ever, much attached to the Union of my adopted country, the United 
States, I shall do all I can to promote it among the Indians, to the 
best of my power. The thought came to my mind that if I could go 
in some official capacity from the Government (I ask for no emolu- 
ments) my object might be strengthened by it and be more effica- 
cious." 13 De Smet's general attitude towards the issues of the Civil War 
has been interpreted thus: 

Father De Smet was a loyal citizen, a Union man; but he was not what 
he later calls a radical. His views were doubtless modified by the atmosphere 
of St. Louis, which was his home and he saw more clearly the other side of 
the question than people of the North generally did. His prayers were for 

12 "There are a large number of Catholics belonging to the various Regiments 
stationed at the Arsenal; and it is impossible, without a departure from Military 
Discipline, to permit them all to go out of the Arsenal on Sunday to attend to 
their religious duties at the churches in the City, as they would doubtless desire 
to do. Under the circumstances 1 take the liberty, having for many years enjoyed 
the pleasure of your acquaintance to say that if you deem it proper and consider it 
desirable, that I will give orders to receive any Catholic clergymen who may wish 
to enter the Arsenal on Sunday, or any other day to perform religious services for 
the Catholics now here and that I will cause accommodations to be prepared for 
the purpose." F. P. Blair to De Smet, June 7, 1861. (A). According to Rothen- 
stciner, History of the Archdiocese of St. Louis, 2:213, it was Blair, recently 
named colonel of the First Regiment of Missouri Volunteers, who solicited De 
Smct's appointment as chaplain, "As this move seemed to be an inducement to 
Irish Catholics to join the ranks, Father De Smet being among the most beloved 
and honored priests in the entire country, the Archbishop refused his consent. It is 
said that Colonel Blair, whose influence in Washington had already removed both 
General Harney and General Fremont from the command of the Department of 
the Missouri, was on the point of taking severe measures against the Archbishop, 
but soon saw the futility of so doing and desisted." "By those who were more or 
less in his confidence it was pretty well known that his [Kenrick's] sympathies 
were with the South. We do not know that he went the entire length of the Calhoun 
doctrine of the Right of Secession, but we do know that he condemned the war, 
not only as inexpedient but as unjustifiable." William Walsh, Life of Most Rev. 
Peter Richard Kenrick, Archbishop of St. Lows (St. Louis, 1891), p. 25. Cf. also 
Rothensteiner, of. cit^ 2:210-219. 

18 CR, Dff Smet, 4: 1509. 


peace, but as between the North and South his sympathies were with the 
North. At one time he frankly doubted that the North would succeed, for he 
felt that so great a section of people of the Anglo-Saxon race could not be 
subdued. As the war progressed and the power of the North became more 
autocratic, he dissented from some of its extreme measures; but there never 
was a shadow of doubt of his unswerving loyalty to the Government. 14 

Though De Smet kept a judicious silence at home on the burning 
question of the war, he did not hesitate in letters to his relatives and 
friends in Europe to discuss what he conceived to be the causes of the 
great struggle that was desolating the country. These ventures into 
political theory and history are marked by accuracy and insight and 
reveal the missionary in the new role of a shrewd and discerning ob- 
server of public affairs. In his opinion the most decisive and indeed 
almost the sole factor in precipitating the Civil War was slavery. 

But the difficulty was about the Territories belonging to the United States. 
There is an immense territory sufficient to form several large States yet 
unsettled. The anti-slavery party, or Freesoil party, as it is called, concluded 
that slavery should not be extended to the Territories, though protected in 
the already formed States. The pro-slavery party demanded the right of carry- 
ing slavery to every foot of the Territory. The anti-slavery party, for the first 
time since the organization of the Government, triumphed in the election of 
Mr. Lincoln to the presidency, and the pro-slavery party seceded from the 
Union, or rather I should say, ten or eleven of the fifteen slave States seceded 
and set up what they call a Confederate Government for themselves. What 
are called the border slave States, as Missouri, Kentucky, Western Virginia, 
Maryland and Delaware, have declared for the old Union; but they are made 
the battle-ground of the contending parties. It is evident that, according to the 
Constitution of the United States, no State has the right to secede from the 
Union. The Union was intended to be perpetual. But the Secessionists con- 
tend that the States, as separate peoples, have, at any rate, the right of revo- 
lution when sufficient cause exists; and they further contend that a sufficient 
cause does exist in the hostility of the free States to the institution of slavery. 
But I have already remarked that the General Government was bound by the 
Constitution to protect slavery in the States where it existed. This is true; 
but the slave States regarded the hostile feelings of the Northern people as 
a sufficient cause for the act of secession. They regarded the fact that they 
were excluded from the Territories as a sufficient cause. 

The truth is that the present state of the country is due to an angry con- 
troversy, long ago begun, on the subject of African slavery. Several com- 
promises between the parties had been entered into, looking to the settlement 

i : 77. "If he had taken any part in politics he would doubtless have 
been what was called a War Democrat,' a Unionist, when it was a question of 
the unity of the country, but opposed to the extreme measures adopted by the 
Republicans at the close of the war." Idem, i: 133, 


of the difficulty; but the feeling remained with the one party that slavery is 
right, and with the other that slavery is wrong. These two hostile feelings 
have culminated in a revolution, or rebellion, the most formidable that the 
world has ever seen. What will be the end of it? No one can say. One thing 
seems evident, namely, that slavery will be extinguished; for though the Gen- 
eral Government does not claim any constitutional power to interfere with the 
Constitutions in the States, yet, as a war power, as a means of putting down 
the rebellion, the General Government does claim the power of liberating the 
slave; and hence the emancipation proclamation of the President more than 
six months ago. Thousands of slaves are making their escape from bondage 
and are now scattered over the free States. 15 

This view of the origin of the war is elsewhere and more than once 
brought out by Father De Smet in letters to European correspondents 
as in this one of February, 1863, addressed to Joseph Van Jersel of 
Utenhout in Holland. "The northern Territories, Washington on the 
Pacific slope, Colorado, Dakota, Nevada, were and are unsuitable for 
slave labor and no one has ever thought of introducing slavery into 
them. But the South insisted absolutely upon that privilege; that is, 
upon the right to introduce slavery, even though it were useless and 
unreasonable. The South was striving for a point of honor, ridiculous 
and unreasonable, a point which they had no idea of carrying into 
effect." 16 

The loyalty to the Union of another midwestern Jesuit, Father 
Francis Xavier Weninger, is also worthy of note. His indefatigable and 
nation-wide missionary labors on behalf of the German-speaking Catho- 
lics of the United States made him a figure of prominence in the re- 
ligious life of the country. It is to be noted that in the following pas- 
sage from his Relation of 1862-1863 he evidently has in mind the 
Catholics of the North, as in the South the Catholics in concert with 
their fellow-citizens generally espoused the cause of secession. "The 
Catholic body in the United States in respect to its politics and ethico- 
religious attitude is everything one would desire. It favors the Union 
of the States and detests the trade in African slaves . . . numbers of 
Catholics have joined the army 5 they offer their life-blood to defend 
the Union and root out slavery." As a result of this stand taken by 
the Catholics, "many Americans think better of the Catholic Church 
than ever before." In Europe, so Weninger intimates, the curious im- 
pression was current in some quarters that the southern states were 
peopled chiefly by Catholics and that the war between North and 

18 Idem, 4: 1440-1442. 
16 Idem, 4: 1439. 


South was a war between the Catholic Church and her enemies. This 
erroneous impression he was at pains to correct when writing to Rome. 17 
The more or less chronic illness of Father Druyts having in the 
end incapacitated him for the discharge of the duties of his office, he 
was replaced in February, 1861, as superior of the middlewestern Jesuits 
by Father William Stack Murphy. For five years, 1851-1856, this 
eminent Jesuit had already filled this post to the obvious and con- 
tinued advantage of the division of the Society of Jesus administered 
by him and he now returned from Fordham to the West to assume 
its duties a second time. His arrival in St. Louis coincided with the 
extreme nervous tension and excitement in public feeling that preluded 
the actual outbreak of hostilities in the Civil Wan He was an intelli- 
gent observer of men and things and for years had been watching with 
interest the gathering clouds on the political horizon. Writing as early 
as 1851 from Florissant to Father Roothaan, he had in a manner fore- 
cast the coming of the storm though what he prognosticated was rather 
a separation, peaceful in character, between East and West. "The dif- 
ference between the old and new States in the way they view things 
and carry on is considerable. One would call them in many respects two 
distinct peoples; very probably their political and national union will 
one day cease. On both sides enough is being done to bring about such 
an outcome." 18 In March, 1861, three weeks before the firing on Fort 
Sumter, Father Murphy felt that the moment of disruption had come: 

Day by day our political affairs become more strangely embroiled. For 
twenty years back one could have foreseen the present-day crisis, regarding 
which, if I mistake not, no one is going to say very soon, "I have seen the end 
of it." According to principles of international law and the example set by the 
Fathers in formerly driving out the English, the Southern states have seceded 
with the best of right. This Missouri of ours with Maryland and other states 
hesitates, owing to the proximity of states which do not allow of negro 
[slaves], for the latter would either invade the former or take in their fugitive 
slaves. But it is likely that the states so hesitating will eventually secede while 
the remaining states will break up into several republics.' 10 

A month later, April 24, Murphy wrote: 

There is trepidation in this city. The English-speaking elements of every 
kind are said to meditate secession. On the other hand the non-Catholic Ger- 
mans stand with the general government. A regiment of them has already 

17 (A). Father Weningcr was accustomed to draw up annually under the 
caption "Relatio" a Latin narrative of his missionary activities often with incidental 
comment on current events of importance. 

18 Murphy a Roothaan, September 6, 1851. (AA). 

19 Murphy ad Beckx, March 24, ?8$i. (AA). 


been admitted into the citadel [arsenal] by the commandant [Maj. Nathaniel 
Lyon], who is reported to have said that a Sicilian vespers will be enacted 
here should the city perchance secede. The people of Illinois threaten from 
the other bank [of the Mississippi] and have already blockaded the lower 
river by setting up camps along it. Our boarders here and at Bardstown are 
Southerners or secessionists, whom we shall be forced soon to send back some 
way or other to their families. 20 

A week" later than the capture of Camp Jackson Murphy com- 
mented apropos of the event: 

We have just passed through fire and water. Fighting outside, dread and 
apprehension behind doors. By force of arms and at the cost of the slaying of 
some thirty citizens of both sexes, the troops of the general Government, 
made up almost entirely of a rabble of non-Catholic Germans, have effected 
a military occupation of the city. This is, as a matter of fact, the chief inland 
town [of the West], from which the way strikes out to the Pacific Ocean 
through the vast region of the West that will swarm in the near future with 
settlers. 21 

In August St. Louis was still astir with excitement: 

All is trepidation and expectancy in this city for the Confederates are 
approaching from every side and nearly the entire State is in their favor. 
This very hour news has come of the rout of the Federals with the killing 
of their commander [General Lyon] on August 10 [at Wilson Creek] 
a hundred miles from the city. The Governor is calling out the Illinois 
troops. Among the Federals it is common report that neither money nor blood 
is to be spared to prevent the State, which is the gateway and key to an ex- 
ceedingly vast region and to the route towards the Pacific Ocean, from being 
wrested from the general Government. From here also by way of the Missis- 
sippi river all kinds of food and merchandise are carried to New Orleans, 
whence they are distributed among divers countries. . . . Fathers Gache, 
Hubert, Prachenski of New Orleans are chaplains with the Confederates. 
Among the Federals Fathers Tissot and Nash of the Mission of New York 
and Father Bernard O'Reilly are praised in the papers for their zeal and 
disregard of all risks even death itself in the thick of the battle in which the 
Federals were recently defeated. Father James Converse at the petition of 
the Archbishop rendered very great service to the Federal troops at Cincin- 
nati. And so it is that our men show themselves interested in souls, not 
parties. 22 

20 Murphy ad Beckx, April 24, 1861. (AA). 

21 Murphy ad Beckx, May 17, 1861. (AA). 

22 Murphy ad Beckx, August 14, 1861. (AA). Father Murphy was misin- 
formed when he wrote that nearly all of Missouri favored the Confederates. As to 
Jesuit chaplains in the war the experiences of Father Truyens, one-time missionary 
among the Miami of Kansas, are worthy of note. His death (December 14, 1867) 


To a Bardstown Jesuit Father Murphy addressed these pleasant 

St. Louis and St. Joseph will, I hope, watch over their Houses and 
shield them in these stormy times. At St. Xavier's, one would think there was 
no danger at hand, and yet I learn that the Cincinnatians fear an attack from 
your state [Kentucky], Really this apprehension appears to me diverting. 
Porcopolis may kill and salt its hogs in peace so far as Kentucky is concerned. 
Let us pray for the country and for a cessation of the bloody strife. You will 
be surprised to learn that five Novices on the banks of the Missouri were fired 
upon twice by an ascending boat full of soldiers, who, no doubt, supposed that 
they were about to fire upon them nobody hurt! thank God. May it be so 
throughout. 23 

In September, 1861, Father Murphy issued a circular letter to the 
members of the vice-province of Missouri informing them that he 
had just received a communication from Father Beckx, the General, 
urging upon all the scrupulous observance of that point of the Jesuit 
rule which "enjoins on Ours neither to manifest nor entertain any 
leaning or partiality towards either party in national difficulties." Two 
of the items embodied in Father Murphy's instructions are of special 
significance as indicating the stand which members of the vice-province 
were to take towards the civil authorities of their respective localities. 
"Granting that every citizen is free to adopt the view entertained by 
the State in which he resides and to which he belongs for the time 

was generally attributed to the hardships incurred by him during his brief chap- 
laincy with Union troops in Kentucky. "I heard repeatedly Father Truyens say 
that he lost his health during the six weeks of his stay with the soldiers. The 
weather was horribly bad and he had to follow the soldiers on foot and sleep on 
wet ground. After his return he was for several months unable to discharge the 

duties of pastorship." Schultz to , December 19, 1867. (A). There is a 

letter on the subject from Father Truyens himself to some unknown correspondent. 
"I believe this is the last letter which I will be able to write for sometime. We have 
left Columbia and arc pursuing our route towards Summerset [Somerset] . We are 
now 38 miles from that place. It will take us at least four days to reach it as the 
roads are very bad and place us under the necessity of walking very slowly. The 
I Oth Indiana is camped by the side of us. Thus far I have been obliged to do my 
journeys on foot in the rear of the regiment but tomorrow I will have a horse as 
the Colonel just told me now. You can easily suppose that this life is very hard 
on me. I have suffered already very much from hunger and can hardly recollect 
myself for a few minutes. I try to make my meditations and examens but I hope 
Al [mighty] God will be satisfied with my endeavors. I feel also grieved not to 
approach the sacraments, there are no Catholic Chaplains here. When I will be 

able to say Mass I do not know." Truyens to , January u, 1862. (A). The 

letter has a postscript of later date penned by Father Murphy: "The Irish and 
Germans and all city recruits have extremely few sickj country-boys, measles, 
smallpox, pneumonia, etc." 

28 Murphy to Verdin, DC Smet Letter-book, 11; 198. (A). 


being, it follows that so far as Missouri and Kentucky are concerned, 
the sovereignty of the General Government yet exists and conse- 
quently residents of these two States are bound to consider it as the 
only lawful Government. According to the same doctrine, Ours resid- 
ing in Free States are obliged to recognize [sic} its authority." 24 

Early in the war the functions of the governor and legislature of 
Missouri were taken over by a state convention which had been origi- 
nally convoked by the legislature itself. The convention had declared 
unanimously against disunion, whereas Governor Jackson, an avowed 
secessionist, announced in August, 1861, that Missouri was already out 
of the Union. The chief executive offices of the state, including that of 
governor, were accordingly declared vacant by the convention and a 
provisional government under its authority was set up. An oath of 
fidelity to the provisional government was promptly required of all 
citizens. On the ethical propriety of taking this oath a difference of 
opinion at once revealed itself among the Jesuits of St. Louis. The 
majority of them saw no moral difficulty in subscribing to it, a view 
concurred in by the Visitor, Father Sopranis, and the vice-provincial, 
Father Murphy j but some few who held the de jacto government to 
be revolutionary and illegal could not see their way to pledging alle- 
giance to it on oath. Archbishop Kenrick himself did not take the oath 
nor would he authorize his diocesan clergy to do so 5 but he left the 
Jesuits free to declare their allegiance to the existing regime if they 
thought it necessary to do so. This liberal attitude on the part of the 
Archbishop was agreeable to Sopranis, who, however, wrote to the 
Father General: "We shall not take advantage of [it] unless the public 
authorities press us and evils of grave moment are imminent." 25 At 
St. Charles Father Verhaegen and his colleagues in the residence 
promptly presented themselves before the civil authorities to take the 
oath 5 but no mention occurs of any other Jesuits in Missouri doing 
likewise. Either the oath was taken by the Jesuits generally or else no 
pressure was brought to bear upon them by the authorities to make 
them do so. The stand they were to take in the matter was outlined 
by Father Sopranis in February, 1862, after long and serious consulta- 
tion with Father Murphy and other members of the vice-province: 

l, They shall refuse [the oath] if this can be done without risk [of 
prosecution] and they shall do so even with such risk in case the Archbishop 
and his clergy refuse it. 

2. In case they really incur the risk of suffering grave evil and the Arch- 
bishop does not object, they shall take the oath. 

24 DC Smct Letter-book, u : 1 90. (A) . 

25 Sopranis ad Beckx, March 2, 1862. (AA). 


3. If there be any who sincerely think they cannot take the oath in con- 
science, let them be sent elsewhere as a concession to human infirmity. The 
chief difficulty lies in the fact that the present government of the state [Mis- 
souri] is regarded as illegal and that the reputable element of the city [of 
St. Louis] with the Archbishop and his clergy does not give allegiance to this 
government, which is for the Union. Whatever course our people there pur- 
sue, they will not avoid some sort of persecution as the open imprudence of 
some of them has brought it about that Ours in that city are regarded in 
public opinion as Secessionists. 26 

There is nothing to indicate that the Jesuits of St. Louis University 
as a body were partisans of the South; but the indiscretions of a few 
of their number gave them, it would appear, something of this reputa- 
tion. The Annual Letters for 1861-1862 record regretfully that in St. 
Louis certain members of the vice-province, heedless of the Jesuit rule, 
had given indiscreet expression to political views and had thus brought 
the University under suspicion of disloyalty. De Smet wrote October 
20, i86i ? to the General: "I must add in my letter that the city of St. 
Louis is in great danger of being sacked and burned in case the secession- 
ists get the upper hand in Missouri. Several of Ours without regard to 
the instructions of your Paternity as published by the Provincial con- 
tinue to manifest secessionist sentiments, at least in the house. No good 
and much harm can result from manifestations of this sort. Indiscre- 
tions are filling the prisons more and more every day." 27 

On June 10, 1862, a formula of the oath of loyalty more stringent 
than any of its predecessors was decreed by the Missouri Convention. 
"A new formula of the oath, a new ordinance," wrote Father Murphy 
June 20 3 1862, "has become almost a monthly occurrence. Recently all 
Ministers of the GospeP have been called upon to declare under oath 
their past, present and future loyalty nor are they permitted to per- 
form the marriage ceremony under any other condition." 2S The oath 
of June 10, 1862, was the first of a retroactive character to be imposed; 
in many of its features it anticipated the notorious Drake oath of 1865. 
There is nothing in contemporary records to indicate the practical stand 
taken by the Jesuits of St. Louis in the face of it. Apparently no seri- 

26 Sopranis ad Beckx, February, 1862. (AA). 

27 De Smet a Beckx, October 20, 1861. Father Ferdinand Garesche, whose 
brother Julius was a prominent Union officer, was an open sympathizer with the 
southern cause. At his own request he was removed by his superiors from St. Louis, 
where his freely expressed sentiments were an occasion of embarrassment to the 
University. Capt. Allen, provost marshal of St. Louis, ordered the stars and stripes 
to be displayed at the University after the battle of Gettysburg. The order was a 
general one issued on the occasion, and not specific for the University. 

28 Murphy ad Beckx, June 20, 1862. (AA), 




W u 

* 8 



V <JH 





a -a 



. C! 
C/D <U 


^ "3 

5 - 




ous attempt was made by the authorities to enforce it in their regard 
or in regard to the clergy generally. 

Early in 1862, less than a year after the outbreak of the war> 
Father De Smet was successful in obtaining from government the 
payment to the Jesuit Indian missions in Kansas of a considerable sum 
of school-money which was long overdue. 

Towards the end of last February, as in July, I had to go to Washing- 
ton to arrange the accounts of our Indian missions among the Potawatomies 
and Osages. Since the outbreak of the war and the great expenditures which it 
occasions, the Government is necessarily delayed in the payment of its con- 
tracts with the Indian tribes, the motto for today being "the expenses of the 
war before everything else." A sum of over eighteen [thousand] dollars was 
due the missions. I presented my request to the Superintendent of Indian 
Affairs [Dole] with the remark that a refusal or delay on the part of the 
Government of its debt and promise, would singularly disarrange the ideas 
of our Indians, who have thus far been loyal and attached to the Union side; 
that if we were obliged by lack of means to send some 400 children back to 
their poor parents, they would "conclude that their Great Father, President 
Lincoln, had taken the money that ought to have gone to the support of their 
children, and used it for other purposes" and that they might be led in con- 
sequence to lend a favorable ear to the Secessionists. This ail-but casus belli 
made the Superintendent smile and pleased him greatly, and he promised to 
do his utmost to satisfy our good savages. He gave me also some good advice 
and indicated several influential persons who might aid me in my just demand 
upon the Government. 

During my short stay in the capital I had the honor of being presented 
to President Lincoln and of talking with him about the present state of our 
Indians and our missions. He showed himself very affable and very well 
disposed towards us and promised me that he would favor and aid us in our 
efforts to ameliorate the unhappy lot of the Indians. The Secretaries of the 
Interior and Treasury and the Attorney and Postmaster-General were like- 
wise very favorable to me. I succeeded in obtaining a sum of over $i 1,000.00, 
with the promise that the balance due the missions should be forwarded at 
an early date. 29 


The enforcement of various laws of military conscription, state and 
federal, led to unpleasant experiences, of which the middlewestern 
Jesuits had their share though in the end none of them had actually 
to perform military service. In Cincinnati in September, 1862, Father 
Garesche, vice-rector of St. Xavier College in the absence of Father 
Schultz in Europe, obtained exemption for some twenty of his students 
who had been summoned to arms to defend the city against an ex- 

29 CR, De Smet, 4: 1507. 


pected attack. In St. Louis Father Thomas O'Neil, rector of the 
University, obtained a similar exemption in favor of students of the 
institution. The Missouri state draft-law was applicable to all citizens, 
even clergymen, between eighteen and forty-five. Owing, it would 
seem, to representations made by De Smet that the bearing of arms 
was incompatible with their ecclesiastical status, all Jesuits resident in 
Missouri were granted exemption from the operation of the law. 
"Great trepidation here," wrote Father Murphy, "over compulsory 
military service, which threatened at least the Brothers and novices. A 
single visit and petition on the part of this excellent Father [De Smet] 
was enough to secure in writing and by name the exemption of all." 30 
But the federal draft law of 1863 was a more difficult problem for 
clergymen to cope with. In a letter of April 1 1 of that year De Smet 
sought the advice of his friend Thurlow Weed of New York as -to 
what relief might be expected from this drastic measure: 

There is an important matter on which I must beg leave to ask your 
counsel. You are aware that the Jesuits are a body of priests and brothers, 
devoted, by solemn vows, exclusively to the service of God and the spiritual 
good of their fellow-men. In the West here we number about 200 members, 
some of whom would fall within the limits of the conscription law lately 
passed by Congress. Our members are stationed in various cities Cincinnati, 
Chicago, St. Louis, Milwaukee, Bardstown, Ky., and in other places all 
laboring in one way or in another for the good of souls. We have been here 
for nearly forty years, devoting ourselves entirely to the education of youth, 
thousands of whom have been trained in our schools and colleges, or attending 
the numerous churches intrusted to our care, or laboring for the civilization 
of Indian tribes in the Far West. And we have thus labored purely for the 
good of our fellow-men, without ever having received any aid from State or 
General Government, satisfied with that support which the liberality of our 
patrons has prompted them to afford us. 

As I have stated, we are bound to God by solemn vows, which our con- 
science forbids us to violate. These vows, recognized and accepted by the 
Catholic Church, separate us from the world, consecrate us to a life different 
from that of other members of our Church, and subject us to the canon law 
of the Church which strictly forbids priests and religious men, who have 
taken these vows, from taking up arms in any cause whatsoever. We are 
ministers of peace, and in all ages this sacred character has been regarded 
as opposed to war and bloodshed. Such is the law of the Church, and this law 
binds our consciences. We cannot violate it without doing violence to our 
duty to God; and therefore we cannot obey any law which would require 
us to violate that duty. You perceive the predicament in which this places 
us at the present moment, and from which I desire your advice to enable us 
to extricate ourselves. 

Litterae Annuae, 1862-63. Murphy ad Beckx, August 26, 1862. (AA). 


As to the remedy of paying $300 for each member that may be subject 
to the draft, I must say that it is scarcely fair to require this of us, who are 
really not subject to military service, by reason of the life we have embraced 
and of the conscientious obligations it imposes upon us. And besides this, such 
a sum paid for all those who might be called upon among us, would pros- 
trate all our establishments and leave us destitute of the means for carrying 
on the works we have undertaken for the good of our countrymen. We are 
struggling hard to keep these up ; the war has inflicted severe losses upon us, 
as upon many others; and if we cannot escape the conscription without pay- 
ing what the act prescribes, I do not see how we shall be able to continue 
our exertions. 

Please give this matter your serious consideration, and if you can suggest 
any means of extricating ourselves from this perplexity, you will confer an 
infinite obligation upon me, by informing me of it. We have here a conflict 
of duties; we desire as far as possible to comply with both; but we cannot 
sacrifice our conscience, and our resources are too limited to allow us to com- 
ply with that condition on which alone the act of Congress will recognize 
our exemption. 31 

There is no record of what answer if any Weed returned to De 
Smet's inquiry. At all events the following year saw the Jesuits under 
the unseemly pressure of the draft. At Cincinnati in January, 1864, 
seventeen of the faculty of St. Xavier College were registered as citi- 
zens liable to the operation of the law 5 of this number, five, Fathers 
De Blieck, Kuhlman and Halpin, and the scholastics Ward and Venne- 
man were drafted. The last named obtained exemption on the ground 
of weak health; for the others substitutes appear to have been ob- 
tained by paying into the government treasury for each of the in- 
dividuals drafted the legal compensation of three hundred dollars 
stipulated in the law. At Cincinnati Bishop Rosecrans, coadjutor to 
Archbishop Purcell, was also among the conscripts $ but the authorities ( 
had the delicacy not to press the case. 32 In Missouri in the course of 
1864 the sweeping measure gathered into its net five fathers, two 
brothers and a scholastic, eight Jesuits in all. At Bardstown, Father 
Verdin, the superior, and Brother Flanagan were conscripted. On re- 
ceiving this news from Bardstown the provincial, Father Coosemans, 
immediately telegraphed to De Smet, who was in Washington at the 
moment, to do what he could to save his confreres. De Smet took the 
matter up with Secretary of War Stanton, September 22 and 29, with 
this result: 


81 CR, De Smet, 4: 1515. De Smet in speaking of "solemn vows" does not 
employ the term "solemn" in a strictly canonical sense. Jesuit coadjutor-brothers 
do not take "solemn" vows nor do all Jesuit priests. 

82 Coosemans ad Beckx January 15, May 18, 1864. (AA). 


There was another affair that was disquieting us greatly the universal 
conscription from which neither priests nor members of religious orders are 
exempt. Father Verdin and Brother Flanagan, in Kentucky, had already 
fallen under the lot and been drafted. I addressed myself to the Secretary 
of War, and by the Lord's favor, through the intercession of the Holy Virgin 
and the prayers of my brothers, I was able to obtain their liberty, with the 
formal promise of the Secretary "that hereafter he would exempt all our 
people who might be called on for military service." In order to evade the 
law the Secretary orders our conscripts "to stay at their homes until he calls 
for them"; and this call, according to his promise, shall not be issued so long 
as the war lasts." 33 

Shortly after Father De Smet's return to St. Louis from Wash- 
ington, the names of three fathers, Keller, Tehan and O'Neil and a 
scholastic, Mr. Lesperance, were announced in the draft. He at once 
conferred with Colonel Alexander, provost marshal of the St. Louis 
District, and two days later communicated with him in writing: 

In my conversation on the 5th instant in reference to the drafting of 
Revd. John L'Esperance, I had the honor of acquainting you that whilst in 
Washington (Sept. 22) I received a Telegraphic Dispatch stating that two 
of our Revd. Brethren in Bardstown College, Kentucky, had been drafted, 
in consequence of which I applied to the Secretary of War who gave imme- 
diate directions "that the Revd. Gentlemen, drafted in Ky. be not called on 
to report for service until especially ordered by the Secretary of War. The 
Provost Marshall of their district will so inform them." 

On the agth ult. I applied again at the office of the Secretary of War, 
to obtain the like favor for any of our Revd. Gentlemen in the different 
Western States. Colonel James A. Hardie, Inspector General of the U. S. A., 
assured me that all measures had been taken to obviate every difficulty on the 

According to our religious principles, as a religious order in the Catholic 
Church, we cannot bear arms and go to war our various houses have hardly 
the necessary number of persons to keep them up and cannot be spared 
the establishments are all in debt, by the construction of necessary buildings 
for schools, colleges, etc., for the public good. 

Besides Revd. John L'Esperance, the Revd. Fathers Keller and Tehan 
are also on the list of those who have been drafted. 34 

On the same day, October 7, Father De Smet also sent a com- 
munication to Colonel Hardie, with whom he was personally acquainted: 

Excuse me if again I have recourse to you for a particular favor. Four 
of the members of this institution [St. Louis University] have lately been 

88 CR, De Smet, 4: 1520. 

8 * De Smet to Alexander, October 7, 1864, Letter-book (1864-1866), 135. (A). 


drafted in St. Louis, viz: the Revd. John Lesperance, Joseph E. Keller, John 
F. X. Tehan and John F. O'Neill. Could you obtain the same favor for 
these Revd. Gentlemen as for Father Verdin and Brother Flanagan of Bards- 
town, Ky., your kindness would ever be most gratefully remembered. 

I shall in all probability leave for Europe on the I gth instant and if I have 
the happiness of reaching Rome, I will not forget to comply with your 

Please remember me to your kind Lady and good children. 35 

The above named were the last Jesuits in the West to be caught in 
the draft. They were never actually pressed into service and their good 
fortune in this respect must seemingly be attributed to De Smet's 
intervention in Washington. It may be noted in this connection that 
the Annual Letters for 1864-1865 record that the satisfactory arrange- 
ment devised by Secretary Stanton in favor of Jesuit conscripts was later 
rescinded by the United States Senate. The annalist would seem to have 
been misinformed in this regard. It is unlikely that any such action by 
the Senate to the prejudice of the Jesuits or any other clergymen ever 
took place though there may have been some tightening up in the 
general application of the draft laws. The Letters further state that 
certain conscripted Jesuits had obtained exemption on various grounds, 
especially that of poor health, and that the chief agent in bringing this 
final stage of the draft question to an ultimate favorable issue was the 
assistant-provincial, Father Joseph Keller, a man of tact and wide per- 
sonal influence in St. Louis, who took the matter in hand after Father 
De Smet's departure for Europe. He was a Bavarian by birth and, 
unlike De Smet, was by no means an ardent Unionist, if indeed his 
sympathies did not rather go with the Confederacy. He had earlier in 
the war expressed the opinion that the number of people who recog- 
nized the futility of the conflict and longed for its speedy termination 
was daily increasing. The only obstacle to peace was the obstinacy of 
the North. "As a matter of fact whoever looks at the matter without 
prejudice or passion will easily see that the other side [the South] 
cannot be overcome in the war nor disheartened by its hardships." On 
the occasion of his being drafted he wrote: "What we long feared has 
finally come to pass. . . . What is going to happen to us does not 
appear, but we shall certainly be freed, either through the same inter- 
vention [De Smet's] or on account of weak health or by payment of 
300 dollars. Whether others have been drafted elsewhere, we haven't 
heard. But this must be expected. Peace seems far off to one who con- 
jectures merely on human grounds $ perhaps in the decrees of God it 
is nearer at hand. Meantime this stain will long remain deeply im- 

3r> Dc Smct to Hardie, Letter-book (1864-1866), 136. (A). 


printed on the name of the Republic, the fact, namely, that alone among 
the nations it has dared to drag with violence the ministers of peace 
from the altars of God and order them to shed blood in battle." 36 
As a matter of fact, no evidence appears to be at hand that any Catholic 
priests served in the Union armies as drafted soldiers. On the other 
hand, in the World War hundreds of ordained clerics in pursuance of 
iniquitous conscription laws bore arms and shed their blood on the 
battlefields of Europe. 


Fortunately most of the Jesuit houses of the Middle West lay by 
a very safe margin outside the zone of actual hostilities. Yet here and 
there the fathers found themselves on ground overrun by the contend- 
ing parties. This was particularly the case in Osage and Cole Counties, 
Missouri, where there were numerous parishes of German Catholics in 
charge of Jesuit pastors. New Westphalia in Osage County, the head- 
quarters of the fathers engaged in parochial work in central Missouri, 
enjoyed immunity from hostile disturbances of any kind up to the 
fall of 1864, when Confederate troops under General Sterling Price 
ravaged the state as far as the Missouri River and beyond. In June, 
1864, Father Weninger preached a mission to the congregation of New 
Westphalia in which he reproached them for their failure to contribute 
in due measure to the support of their pastors, hazarding the prediction 
that the worldly goods which they were so industriously bent on amass- 
ing would soon become the prey of an invading enemy. The following 
October brought with it the fulfillment of his words. During four days 
secessionist troops to the number of twenty thousand held Osage County 
in their grip, spoiling it of cattle, horses, clothing and such other mate- 
rial goods as served their needs. The farmers of New Westphalia and 
its vicinity suffered losses aggregating twenty thousand dollars. Houses 
were entered and the men's best clothing and the women's shawls car- 
ried off as booty before the eyes of the helpless inmates. On the Sun- 
days immediately following the invasion many of the male members 
of St. Joseph's congregation were to be seen attending divine service 
in incomplete attire or in the shabby, discarded garments which alone 
of all their wardrobe had escaped the pillage. The residence in New 
Westphalia was entered and preparations were being made to remove 
the furniture when General Shelby, who had given assurance of his 
protection to the superior, Father John Goeldin, intervened and put a 
stop to the proceedings. Father William Niederkorn was returning 
home from a missionary excursion when he heard of what had hap- 

86 Keller ad Beckx, April 21, 18655 October 12, 1864. (AA). 


pened in New Westphalia. He at once turned in from the road to a 
farmer's place, where he contrived to put his horse in safe hiding. But 
shortly after he was met by a party of soldiers, who forced him to 
deliver up his coat, watch and a part of his money. After remaining 
concealed for three days, he returned to Westphalia on foot, not ven- 
turing to ride his horse for fear the latter might also become a prize 
of war. At Richfountain Father Henry Van Mierlo was despoiled of 
his horse, watch and some of his clothes. At Loose Creek Father James 
Busschots saw the church and parish residence robbed and his horse 
appropriated. Such were some of the incidents that marked the inva- 
sion of Osage County by Confederate forces in the fall of 1864. With 
their withdrawal quiet was soon restored in the county, and, as the 
annalist observes, each one took up again the round of his accustomed 
duties as though nothing extraordinary had taken place. 

At Taos in Cole County, on the west side of the Osage River and 
only a few miles distant from New Westphalia, Father Ferdinand 
Helias, then in his sixty-fifth year, had to taste the bitterness of petty 
persecution. Here the founder of the Catholic parishes of central Mis- 
souri was engaged in quiet pursuit of his parochial duties when the 
fierce storm of the Civil War broke over his head. He at once avowed 
his loyalty to the Union though numerous sympathizers with the south- 
ern cause were to be found in his locality. For years back a faction 
made up of German liberals and free-thinkers, popularly known as 
the "Latin Farmers," had been in open opposition to Helias and his 
work. The outbreak of the Civil War was the signal for fresh attacks 
on the venerable priest. He was accused of being a secessionist and of 
harboring secessionist spies in his house and in the parish cemetery. A 
careful search of the presbytery and cemetery made by a detachment 
of state militia resulted in the priest's vindication. But the opposition 
to him still continued. Things finally came to such a pass that he stole 
out of Taos in disguise one morning before dawn and made his way 
quietly to New Westphalia, where he remained in hiding in the pres- 
bytery, taking advantage of this forced retirement to begin at once the 
exercises of his annual retreat. 

When the news of Helias's sudden departure from Taos became 
known, calumny again became busy with the father's name. The old cry 
of disloyalty to the Union was again raised and with such effect that 
soldiers belonging to the local militia known as the Home Guard broke 
into the presbytery of St. Francis Xavier at Taos, destroyed the furni- 
ture and carried off such valuables as suited their taste. Not content 
with this, they vented their ill-will on some of the neighboring farmers 
who were charged with being accomplices of Father Helias. The pres- 
ence of the latter at New Westphalia had in the meantime ceased to 


be a secret, a circumstance which determined him to resort to flight a 
second time. He accordingly left St. Joseph's presbytery one night 
under cover of darkness and, making his way through a dense woods 
to avoid taking the public road, reached the house of a friend of his, 
a Mr. Forth. Here he found hospitable refuge and a secure hiding-place. 
Soon, however, he realized that the interests of his parishioners as well 
as the good name of his ministry and of the order to which he belonged 
demanded that he take steps towards vindicating himself before the 
public. He therefore drew up a statement in explanation and defense 
of his career, which he addressed to the military authorities in Jeffer- 
son City. It is a well-written and even eloquent document, replete with 
patriotic sentiment and inspired throughout by the sincerest attachment 
to the Union. "The founder of the Mission of Central Missouri could 
never be the partisan of a secession in which his conscience saw only a 
flagrant violation of the primitive pact and sacred contract, which not 
being restricted to any period of time remains forever of equal obliga- 
tion. . . . He has not failed to employ every means in his power to 
maintain the people in submission to the law; he has been and will 
continue to be the apostle of peace 5 at Taos where he resides and every- 
where in Missouri, he has been seen to defend and support the cause 
of the Union 5 his numerous friends will know whether he has ever 
spoken any other language save that of concord." 

Father Helias's defense was well received. General Davis, in com- 
mand at Jefferson City, addressed him a letter under date of Septem- 
ber 1 6, 1861, in which he gave assurance that the priest would no 
longer be subject to molestation at the hands of the Home Guard. 
"I will not permit a minister of the Gospel to be insulted or ill-treated 
by those under my command. I accordingly reserve to myself the pun- 
ishment of every infraction of my order." 37 

Taking up again his work in Taos, Helias, though spared any 
interference on the part of the military, still continued to be harassed 
by the free-thinking element of the place. One gets an idea of the law- 
less character of the times in reading how a body of armed men entered 
the priest's residence at night and sacked it from garret to cellar, de- 
molishing what they could not carry off and leaving him nothing but 
his bed and books. To a friend of his who offered him on this occasion 
five hundred dollars wherewith to retrieve his losses, the father replied: 
cc Keep it, they might rob me of that also." To spare the good priest 
further molestation he was removed by his superior in 1864 to the 
novitiate at Florissant. But his stay there was short and he was soon 
back again with his parishioners of Taos. 

87 Auguste Lebrocquy, S.J., Vie du R. ?. Hllias D'Huddtghem (Ghent, 1878), 
pp. 258, 285. 


On the Kansas border towards the end of 1861 Father James Van 
Goch met with a harrowing experience, which Father De Coen of 
Leavenworth recounted in a letter to St. Louis: 

Good Father Van Goch met with a very trying occurrence the other day. 
On his way to Leavenworth near Fort Scott he was arrested by a band of 
federal maurauders ; they knew him and he knew them, as only a few days 
before he had very kindly fed them and their horses at the [Osage] Mission. 
They acknowledged that they had been well treated^ but they said that he 

was a d priest and that his kindness was nothing but hyprocrisy; they 

cursed him most dreadfully and threatened to take his life. Then the leader 
of the band put his revolver to Fr. Van Goch's ear telling him that he wanted 
to go to confession and that 'he [Father Van Goch] would hear a confession 
as he never heard before, that he would blow a pill through both ears at 
once. After many insults and blasphemies about religion, they made him 
march on, having their rifles pointed towards him and threatening at every 
step to blow him to pieces. After a few miles they told him that his last hour 
was come and that he had only two minutes to live. They then dragged him 
into the wood by the roadside and ordered him to kneel; they immediately 
surrounded him with their revolvers and pointed to his heart. "Men," said 
the leader, "when I say: one y two, three, fire altogether"; here one of the 
men stepped forward: "Captain," said he, "let us take him to the camp and 
examine him and blow out his brains afterwards." This was accordingly done, 
they took him to their camp which was a few miles farther in, insulting and 
threatening him all the time. Arriving there, they took him before the Com- 
mander, who at once recognized him and shook hands with him, "Father," 
said he, "I am glad to see you, but what brought you here?" F. Van Goch 
answered that he had been taken prisoner. The Commander told his men 
to go about their business and invited F. Van Goch to his tent and treated 
him very kindly 5 the only apology he made was that he had some bad men 
among his troops. F. Van Goch was thankful to him for his protection and 
asked him to accompany him until he was out of reach of his late friends, 
which the officer did. F. Van Goch seems to have taken this mishap with great 
composure and great resignation. Almighty God be praised for the assistance 
He gave to his servant during these trying [times?]. 38 


The close of the war found the Jesuit houses of the Middle West 
if not in a state of prosperity at least engaged without molestation 
in their ordinary round of activities. "Here at St. Louis and in other 
places where we have establishments," recorded Father Coosemans Feb- 

88 De Coen to Murphy, December n, 1861. (A). Most of the details em- 
bodied in the foregoing section are derived from the Litterae Annuae, 1864. 
Civil War incidents bearing on the Potawatomi and Osage missions are told in the 
chapters specially dealing with these missions. 


ruary 18, 1865, "Ours continue, thanks be to God, to work in peace 
A.M.D.G. It is something marvellous that since the beginning of this 
unfortunate war we have been nowhere hampered in our activities 
except at Bardstown; and even the closing of that college must be 
regarded as a favorable stroke of Providence by making it possible for 
us to send some of our men to the scholasticate." 39 Some two months 
later Lee laid down his arms at Appomattox Court House ; a little 
later followed the surrender of the other Confederate armies and the 
Union triumph was complete. "We have grounds for hoping that we 
shall soon have the peace for which we have long prayed/ 3 Coosemans 
informed the General. "Yesterday [April 10] we received news that 
General Lee of the Confederate army had surrendered at discretion." 40 
Though an end had come to the memorable struggle, the violence 
of political passions to which it had given rise was long in subsiding. 
In Missouri particularly a bitter aftermath of ungenerous and reckless 
.oppression of the vanquished party was gathered in. The so-called 
radical or uncompromising wing of the Republican party having got 
the upper hand in the state, a new constitution was adopted in June, 
1865, an outstanding feature of which was the requirement of a test- 
oath from all voters, public officials, teachers, clergymen, lawyers, 
jurors, and trustees of church property. "The principal condition of 
the oath was that the individual had never sympathized with or aided 
the South. There were some forty-five offenses that he must never have 
committed 5 and so sweeping were its provisions that no one could 
truthfully take it." 41 Writing to one of his relatives in Belgium shortly 
after the announcement of the Drake oath, as it came to be called 
from the principal author of the new constitution, Charles Drake, a 
St. Louis lawyer, Father De Smet inveighed against this latest exploit 
of the dominant party in Missouri: 

The old proverb says sunt bona mixta malts and that is the case today in 
Missouri. Upon emerging from the war and at the beginning of the return 
of peace we find ourselves in fresh trouble and in a state of cruel uncertainty. 
This is the way of it. The radical party has installed itself, for fas et n&ja^ 
at the head of the State Government. The new Constitution, which has been 
adopted by a slender majority and which is publicly denounced as fraudulent, 
requires the clergy of all denominations, all professors of seminaries and 
colleges and all school teachers of either sex (including nuns) to take the 
following oath: "That they have at no time in the past uttered a word nor 
sympathized in any manner in favor of the rebellion," etc. Preaching and 
performing the marriage ceremony are expressly forbidden to the clergy by 

89 Coosemans a Beckx, February 18, 1865. (AA). 

40 Coosemans a Beckx, April n, 1865. (AA). 

41 CR, DeSmet, i: 133. 


this law. The priests are generally agreed that, on principle, such an oath 
cannot be taken, because our authority does not emanate from the State and 
we cannot, without compromising the ecclesiastical estate, consent to take 
such an oath. No Catholic priest in Missouri will take it; the Protestant minis- 
ters have generally done so. The penalty for those who refuse to take this 
abominable ex *post facto oath is a fine of $500 and imprisonment. The 
Governor has announced in a speech "that he has had the State prison en- 
larged and that the law shall be executed." If this cruel law is really enforced 
our churches will have to be closed and our schools and colleges will be ruined. 

We have thus far been left in peace at St. Louis, but in the interior of 
the State, in places where the radicals are in a majority, religious persecution 
is beginning to seethe. Four priests have been cited before their tribunals "for 
having preached the gospel" contrary to their Iniquitous law. One of the 
priests is actually in prison, the other three have given bail. Two Sisters of 
Charity have also been cited before these famous judges "for having taught 
children" and have been released under bail. Serious as this matter is, it has 
also its curious side $ it is wonderful that a land so proud and jealous of its 
liberty can hatch so many tyrants of the lowest and most detestable kind. 
This law Is at the same time so absurd that I am inclined to believe that the 
odious act, after a few vain efforts, will be smothered and expire after having 
seen the light of day. This black and infamous blemish in the Constitution of 
Missouri will, it is hoped, react promptly upon its contrivers. 

The sad circumstances in which we find ourselves do not in the least 
interfere with our ordinary tranquility. ach one keeps at his work as if 
nothing was plotting around us. This tyrannical law of Missouri being ex post 
facto is unconstitutional and therefore null and contrary to the Constitution 
of the United States, which prohibits laws of that sort. Meanwhile our 
churches remain open and we preach and administer the sacraments as usual. 
Our college opened on the very day of the promulgation of the law (the 
fourth of this month) with an attendance of about 600 pupils. We pray and 
keep our patience under the wings of the eagle, the emblem of the Constitu- 
tion of the United States or rather we repose without uneasiness under the 
safeguard of the Lord! May his holy will be accomplished in regard to 
us!" 42 

From the beginning the test-oath met with widespread opposition 
not only among Catholics but among Protestants as well. The claim 
has been made by a careful student of the subject that the oath was 
conceived not in any spirit of hostility to the churches as such but solely 
with a view to penalize to the extreme all participants in and abettors 

42 Idem, 4: 1444. De Smet was in error when he wrote that the Protestant min- 
isters in general took the Drake oath. August 10, 1864, the province consul tors 
agreed that in view of the Archbishop's instructions the oath could not be taken 
as a condition for exercising the ministry; but the question was raised whether it 
might not be taken by teachers, trustees, etc. No decision was reached and mean- 
while the Archbishop's advice was to be sought. 


of the Rebellion. 43 As the Baptist minister, Galusha Anderson, one of 
the advocates of the test, expressed it: "They framed this merciless 
oath to hold in check the rebellious pro-slavery element of the common- 
wealth until the new order of things should be established." 44 Be this 
as it may, the oath was rather generally regarded as a gross violation 
of religious liberty. Almost unanimously the Baptist, Presbyterian and 
Methodist clergymen of the state announced their intention to continue 
to discharge their ministerial duties in disregard of it. Archbishop Ken- 
rick in an open letter to his clergy forbade them to take the oath. 45 It 
was reckoned that of the fifteen hundred clergymen in the state not a 
hundredth part accepted the test, though many desisted from preach- 
ing. As far as figures, admittedly incomplete, are available, some eighty- 
five clergymen were indicted for disregarding the oath, all of whom 
were released on bail. The great majority of the cases were never 
brought to trial and the proportion of convictions to indictments was 
negligible. 46 Francis Preston Blair, the acknowledged leader of the 
movement to save Missouri for the Union but subsequently the radicals' 
most determined foe, declared in a speech in October, 1865: "It [the 
test-oath] is inoperative. Every preacher in the state continues to preach. 
In St. Louis preachers of the Gospel pray and preach and perform 
the marriage ceremony and there is no Grand Jury that will indict 
them." 47 

The part played by the Catholic clergy in the opposition to the 
oath was a conspicuous one. No Catholic priest in the state subscribed 
to it. Three of their number, Fathers Cummings and Murphy and 
probably a third, Father Ryan, were put on trial and fined for having 
preached without first taking the oath. Father Hogan, of Chillicothe, 
subsequently Bishop of St. Joseph and later of Kansas City, Missouri, 
attracted widespread public notice by openly repudiating it. As to the 
Jesuits, those residing in St. Louis were protected by public opinion 
and, though continuing the open discharge of their ministerial duties 
in disregard of the oath, were in no wise molested. But in the interior 
of the state legal action was taken here and there against Jesuit pastors. 
On May 2, 1866, Fathers Goeldin and Niederkorn of Westphalia were 

48 "That there was any state-wide and systematic persecution of the clergy for 
the conscious purpose of destroying religious freedom must be regarded as a 
legend." Thomas S. Barclay, "The Test Oath for the Clergy in Missouri," in 
Missouri Historical Review, 18:345-381. 

44 Barclay, p. 352. 

45 ". . . . Kenrick y voyant un imfietment sur les libertes icclesesiastiques?' 
Coosemans a Beckx, September 13, 1865. (AA). 

46 Barclay, p. 380. 

47 Barclay, p. 359. 


before the grand jury for having preached in disregard of the oath. 
They obtained an appeal to February, 1867, by which time it was hoped 
the obnoxious thing would be ruled out by the courts. At St. Charles in 
November of the same year Fathers Oakley and Setters, both non- 
jurors, were summoned to trial but acquitted. At Washington Father 
Seisl was cited for not having subscribed to the oath but twice secured 
a postponement of the suit. These cases are typical of the results which 
attended the attempts made to enforce the test by legal action. 

Of all the cases resulting from the test-oath in which Catholic priests 
were involved, that of Father John Cummings of Louisiana in Pike 
County was to be the most important. A contemporary account de- 
scribes him as "a very modest gentlemanly looking little fellow of 
about twenty-two or twenty-three years of age," though this was no 
doubt an understatement of his actual age. On September 3, 1865, he 
had preached to his congregation without having previously sworn the 
oath. Almost immediately he was haled before the grand jury of Pike 
County, indicted and subsequently convicted by the Circuit Court. Bail 
was offered him but he pertinaciously refused to accept it, preferring 
to go to jail, where he was confined for some days. On his eventual 
release under bond and in pursuance of advice from Archbishop Ken- 
rick, who was determined to make this a test-case of the constitutionality 
of the oath, he appealed his sentence from the Circuit Court to the 
State Supreme Court of Missouri. 48 The latter having by an unanimous 
ruling upheld the constitutionality of the oath, the case was then ap- 
pealed to the Supreme Court of the United States. This highest tribunal 
of the land, not unanimously, curious to say, but by a divided vote of 
five to four, declared, January 14, 1867, the oath to be null and void 
on several counts, among these being the circumstance that it was an 
ex 'post facto measure and therefore at odds with the federal constitu- 
tion. "For severity," runs the comment of the majority judges, the 
oath "is without any precedent that we can discover." Such was the 
inglorious issue of the Missouri test-oath of 1865, which had been con- 
ceived in a spirit of political rancor and vindictiveness and in complete 
disregard of Lincoln's immortal watchword for reconstruction, "with 
charity to all, with malice to none." As a postscript to this brief account 
of the fortunes of the middlewestern Jesuits during the period of the 
Civil War, may be cited the words penned by Father Coosemans in 
September, 1868: "I will only say that, if during the Civil War we 
have happily escaped many a disagreeable situation, this certainly was 
not by reason of my administration, for everything done to extricate 

48 According to Walsh, Life of Archbishop Kenrick^ the prelate incurred an 
outlay of some ten thousand dollars in carrying through the Cummings case. 


us from the difficulties to which we were exposed was done by Father 
De Smet, who has great influence with the government, and by Father 
Thomas O'Neil, Rector of the University at the time, who took effec- 
tive measures to save it from the difficulties in which new and hostile 
legislation had placed it." 




The Potawatomi Mission of Sugar Creek, maintained by the middle- 
western Jesuits during the decade 1838-1848 near the present Center- 
ville, Linn County, Kansas, was a revival after the lapse of many years 
of the eighteenth-century Jesuit Miami-Potawatomi Mission on the St. 
Joseph River near the site of Niles in Michigan. 1 Children and grand- 
children of the Indians who had received the gospel-message from the 
latter center were to be found in numbers at Sugar Creek, where the 
devoted zeal of Allouez, Mermet, Chardon and their Jesuit associates 
lived again in worthy successors. For the historical background of 
Sugar Creek one must therefore go back to the mission on the St. 
Joseph. "Here," says Parkman, "among the forests, swamps and ocean- 
like waters, at an unmeasured distance from any abode of civilized man, 
the indefatigable Jesuits had labored more than half a century for the 
spiritual good of the Potawatomi, who lived in great numbers along 
the margin of the lake [Michigan]. As early as the year 1712, as 
Father Marest informs us, the mission was in a thriving state and 
around it had gathered a little colony of the forest-loving Canadians." 2 
Here, then, in the valley of the St. Joseph was going forward on be- 
half of the Potawatomi an evangelical enterprise of promise when the 
suppression of the Society of Jesus supervened and the mission went 
down in the general ruin of the Jesuit establishments in the West. Yet 
it was not to perish altogether. The early thirties of the nineteenth 
century saw its restoration at the hands of diocesan priests. 

With the passing of the Jesuit missionaries the Christian Potawatomi 
of the St. Joseph became demoralized though they preserved the 
memory of the black-robes as a precious heirloom far into the nineteenth 
century. If we except Father Edmund Burke, one-time professor in the 

1 George A. Pare, "The St. Joseph Mission," in Mississippi Valley Historical 
Review, 17:24-54 (1930); on the restored Potawatomi mission cf. William 
McNamara, C.S.C., The Catholic Church on the Northern Frontier, 1789-1844 
(Washington, 1931). 

2 Parkman, Conspiracy of Pontiac (Boston, 1882), 1:273. 



seminary of Quebec and later Bishop of Sion and Vicar-Apostolic of 
Nova Scotia, who from his post in southeastern Michigan is said to 
have attempted to revive the Catholic Indian missions of the West, 
the first missionary to be associated with the restored Potawatomi mis- 
sion was Father Gabriel Richard, the well-known pioneer priest of 
Michigan. 3 Though he was a visitor at the Ottawa mission of Arbre 
Croche on Lake Michigan as early as 1799, it is not clear that he visited 
in person the Potawatomi of the St. Joseph. But he was known to these 
Indians as a friend of the red men. Evidence of the esteem in which 
they held him is found in the circumstance that in 1821 they commis- 
sioned him to act as their agent in a projected treaty at Chicago between 
the federal government and the Potawatomi of Illinois and Michigan. 
Contrary winds delayed him on his lake journey from Detroit, whence 
he set out July 4, 1821, and he arrived in Chicago only in September 
to learn that the treaty negotiations were over. 4 Shortly after this Dr. 
Isaac McCoy, taking advantage of the educational provisions of the 
treaty, opened a Baptist mission among the Indians of the St. Joseph. 
This was the Carey Mission, which, after maintaining itself for about 
a decade, closed its doors on the very eve of the return of the Catholic 
missionaries to the St. Joseph. 

In July, 1830, Rev. Frederick Rese, while making an official visita- 
tion of the diocese of Cincinnati, of which he was vicar-general and 
which included in its territory all of Ohio and what was then Michigan 
Territory, arrived among the Potawatomi. He was probably the first 
Catholic priest to appear on the old mission-site since the passing of the 
Jesuits. The Indians were delighted to have a black-robe in their midst 
and pitched their wigwams in great numbers around the visitor's cabin. 
They were eager for instruction in the faith which their forbears had 
professed and many asked to be baptized on the spot. Rese, however, 
contented himself with baptizing the few on whose perseverance he 
could prudently rely, among the number being the chief, Leopold 
Pokegan, and his wife. The question of a Catholic chapel having been 
raised, it was decided by the chiefs to ask the proprietors of the Carey 
Mission to turn over to the Catholic priest whom Rese promised to 
send them the buildings which the Protestants were about to abandon. 
A party of chiefs, accompanied by the vicar-general, thereupon presented 
themselves at the Carey Mission and preferred this request. The clergy- 

8 Shea, History of the. Catholic Church In the United States^ 2:475, 491. 
There is no direct evidence that Father Burke ever visited the Potawatomi of the 
St. Joseph. 

4 Ann, Prof., 3: 342. Some, however, of the Potawatomi are said to have asked 
for a Baptist mission. 


man in charge answered by engaging to surrender the buildings at the 
expiration of a month. 3 

Prior to Father Resets visit to the St. Joseph, Pokegan, the Pota- 
watomi chief , with a party of five Indians, had appeared, July i, 1830, 
at Detroit, to press the petition of his people for a resident pastor with 
the vicar-general, Father Gabriel Richard. Pokegan had the red man's 
native gift of eloquence and his address on this occasion was a pathetic 
plea for a priest to break the bread of life to his famishing tribesmen. 
His address finished, the chief fell upon his knees before Richard and 
recited the Our Father, Hail Mary and Credo in his own language in 
token of his sincerity in seeking the truth for himself and his people. 
The vicar-general had engaged on a previous occasion to send the Pota- 
watomi a priest. This time he renewed his promise, assuring the Indians 
of his intention to send them Father Vincent Badin, nephew of the 
better-known Father Stephen Badin, the first priest ordained in the 
United States. But by a chance Stephen Badin himself arrived in De- 
troit on July 2, the day following Pokegan's visit to the vicar-general. 
Richard having offered him the Potawatomi mission, Father Stephen 
Badin eagerly accepted it. Then followed Father Rese's passing visit 
to the Potawatomi. On July 30 he was back in Detroit and on August 4 
Father Badin, now appointed their regular pastor, was with the Indians 
on the St. Joseph. He was accompanied by Miss Catherine Campau, 
an elderly lady of Detroit, who was to act as interpreter. 6 

Father Badin had no expectation of being installed forthwith in the 
Protestant mission-buildings. Moreover, he knew the American govern- 
ment was determined to transport all the Indian tribes beyond the 
Mississippi, and so made up his mind to purchase a tract of land and 
thus make the establishment of the Church on the St. Joseph indepen- 
dent of all contingencies. "Arriving on the scene, I felt at once that 
my apprehensions were justified 5 and so with the aid of divine provi- 
dence I have purchased: i, a house, which I have blessed so as to make 
it into a chapel 3 2, a tract of fifty acres two miles from the chapel and 
adjoining the territory of the Indians and Pokegan's village." 7 In the 
interval between Father Rese's visit to the Potawatomi and Badin's 
arrival among them representations appear to have been made to 
the local Indian agent in consequence of which he received orders to 
take possession of the mission-buildings on the departure of the minis- 
ters. To the Catholic resident with whom Father Badin lodged at St. 

5 Ann. Prof. } 6: 147. 

6 Letter of Father Badin, September I, 1830, in Ann. Prop., 4:546. It is 
written from "Territoire du Michigan, a Pancienne Mission des Jesuit es sur la 
Riviere St. Joseph chez les Poutuatomies" 

7 Ann. Prof., 6: 160. 


Joseph's the agent was at pains to write a sharp letter in which he 
threatened dire penalties against all who should attempt to obtain 
possession of the buildings or even advise the Indians on the subject. 
But a rejoinder, at once courteous and courageous, from Badin's pen 
had the effect of mollifying the agent, who thereupon began to treat 
the priest with much consideration, going so far as to share with him 
his budget of newspapers, a very welcome courtesy, one may well 
believe, in such an out-of-the-way corner as Pokegan's Village. 8 

On the feast of the Presentation of Our Lady, November 21, 1830, 
Father Badin dedicated his little chapel on the St. Joseph. It topped 
an eminence which rose prettily by the side of the river and close to 
the Niles road, at a point about a mile north of the Indiana-Michigan 
state-line. It was built of logs, measured twenty-five feet by eighteen 
and cost one hundred and eighty-five dollars. An unexpected circum- 
stance lent color to the dedication ceremony. A party of Ottawa Indians, 
ten in number, from the mission of Arbre Croche on Lake Michigan, 
had been hunting in the neighborhood of St. Joseph's. Two hundred 
miles away from home, they readily availed themselves of the oppor- 
tunity to attend Mass in the new chapel of their Potawatomi kinsmen. 
They had been trained to sing by the mission-teachers and so Badin's 
choir at the High Mass with which he solemnly opened his modest 
little church turned out to be none other than this wandering band of 
Ottawa hunters. "Thank the Lord for me," he exclaims, "for the 
consolation He affords of seeing gathered around me in the new chapel, 
which resembles not a little the stable of Bethlehem, a slender congre- 
gation of French Canadians and Indians of two allied tribes in this 
far corner of the United States, where Recollects and Jesuits labored 
of old to preach the Gospel." 9 

The eagerness of the Potawatomi to embrace the Faith taxed the 
missionary's strength. At his arrival he found scarcely twenty of them 
baptized. In December, 1832, little more than two years after his taking 
up the work, three hundred of the tribe had become members of the 
Church. In another year the number of Catholics in the various Pota- 
watomi villages of the Indiana-Michigan frontier had risen to six hun- 
dred. In September, 1831, seven of the neophytes, Chief Pokegan 
among them, were admitted for the first time to holy communion. 
The first communicants, some of them children of ten, fasted for sev- 
eral days in preparation for the great event. "They show so much sim- 
plicity and good will," Father Badin records, "that argument is un- 
necessary to convince them of the truth of our holy religion. Besides, 
the Jesuits, who instructed their fathers or rather their grandfathers, 

8 Idem, 6: 159. 

9 Idem, 6: 161. 


have left behind them so good a repute that they are called 'the holy 
fathers'." 10 

As the Potawatomi were settled north and south of the Indiana- 
Michigan state-line, Badin's field of labor lay in two dioceses. Bards- 
town, which included Kentucky and Indiana, and Cincinnati, which 
took in Michigan Territory. There was no difficulty over jurisdiction, 
however, for the missionary long before his arrival at the St. Joseph 
had received from Bishops Flaget and Fenwick the powers of vicar- 
general for their respective dioceses. 11 Towards the close of 1830 
Father Carabin was sent to assist Badin, who remained with the Pota- 
watomi until some time in the course of 1 834 when he apparently took 
up residence on the site of the future Notre Dame University. 12 In 
1835 Father Deseille, a Belgian, assisted for a while by Father 
Boheme, was in charge of the mission. When Bishop Brute in the 
summer of 1835 visited the Potawatomi villages for the first time as 
head of the newly erected diocese of Vincennes, he was accompanied 
on his rounds by Deseille. 13 There were at this time at least two 

10 Hem, 6: 1 68. Father Verreydt records in his memoirs that Wiwosay (or 
Wewesa), the Potawatomi chief at Sugar Creek, treasured as "a relic of a saint/' a 
letter of a Jesuit missionary on the St. Joseph which he had received from his 
father, also a Potawatomi chief. "This shows in what great veneration our ancient 
Fathers were held by the Pottowatomie nation. Would to God we had followed 
their example." 

11 Father Badin signed himself in letters of this period "Vicar General of 
Cincinnati and Bardstown." 

12 "On Thursday evening we arrived at South Bend, a little town beautifully 
situated on the high banks of the St. Joseph river. It is growing rapidly, owing to 
its many advantages. Crossing the river we visited c St. Mary of the Lake,' the 
mission-house of the excellent Mr. Badin who had lately removed to Cincinnati. 
He had a school there kept by two Sisters, who have also gone away, leaving the 
place vacant. The 625 acres of land attached to it and the small lake named St. 
Mary's make it a most desirable spot and one soon I hope to be occupied by some 
prosperous institution. Rev. Mr. Badin has transferred it to the Bishop on the 
condition of his assuming the debts, a trifling consideration compared with the 
importance of the place." 'Letter of Bishop Brute to the Leopoldine Association of 
Vienna in McGovern, The Catholic Church in Chicago, p. 9. 

18 Of Father Deseille and his successor among the Potawatomi, Petit, there 
are interesting glimpses in the letters of Father Sorin, founder of the University 
of Notre Dame. The site of that great institution formed part of one of the 
Potawatomi reserves and was at one time in possession of Father S. T. Badin. Subse- 
quently it passed to Bishop Brute of Vincennes, by whose successor, Bishop de la 
Hailandiere, it was in turn transferred to Father Sorin. Infra, Chap. XXXI, I . "It 
was situated," wrote Father Sorin, "in the Northern part of the state on the banks 
of the river [St. Joseph] beside which had labored an Allouez, a Marquette, a 
Hennepin and a La Salic, to be followed in the pioneer settlement days by a Badin, 
a Deseille and a .Petit." A Story of Fifty Years from the Annals of the Congrega- 
tion of the Holy Cross, 1845-1905 (Notre Dame, Ind., n.d.). 


Potawatomi settlements of size, Pokegan's Village, situated just north 
of the Indiana state-line, though a number of this chief's followers 
lived south of the line, and Chichako's Village on or near the Tippe- 
canoe River and about seventy-five miles to the south of Pokegan's 
Village. 14 Badin's ministry seems to have been confined chiefly to the 
Indians of the last-named settlement, but Deseille worked in the 
southern villages also, especially in Chichako's. The latter dying in 
1837, an ardent successor to his apostolate among the Potawatomi of 
Indiana was found in the person of Father Benjamin-Marie Petit. 


Born at Rennes in Brittany April 8, 1811, Father Petit followed at 
first the career of a barrister but abandoned it in 1835 to devote himself 
to the ministry. Bishop Brute of Vincennes, while on a visit to Rennes, 
which he also claimed as his native town, met the young seminarian 
and received him into his diocese. Petit embarked in June, 1836, for 
New York, whence he proceeded to Vincennes to continue his theologi- 
cal studies. On October 15, 1837, he wrote to his mother: 

I am a priest and the hand which writes to you has this day borne Jesus 
Christ. ... I had been a deacon since September 24 when one evening 
there came a letter sealed in black announcing the death of Mr. Desseilles, 
for seven years a missionary among the Indians. He had sent word in good 
season to his two nearest neighbors, at Chicago and Logansport; but one of 
the two was very ill while the other, confined to bed for several weeks, was 
too exhausted to attempt a journey of sixty-five miles. Mr. Desseilles had to 
die all alone. A priest yesterday, I said my first Mass today and in two days 
am to go to South Bend to bring comfort to a settlement of Indians who 
have addressed to Monseigneur a touching petition for a new priest. I have 
always longed for a mission among the Indians. We have only one such in 
Indiana and it is I whom the Indians call their black-robe Father. 16 

The diocese of Vincennes was to enjoy the services of this extraor- 
dinarily zealous priest only some sixteen months. During this time he 
divided his attention between the Indian villages and the white settle- 
ments, in particular, Logansport and South Bend in Indiana and 
Bertrand in Michigan. But it was the Potawatomi who enjoyed the 

14 Petit makes no mention of Chichako's Village in his letters. His own mission 
at Chichipi-Outipe on the Yellow River, a fork of the Tippecanoe, was sixty miles 
south of Pokegan's Village (Ann. Prop., n: 391). Chichipi-Outipe is apparently to 
be identified with Twin Lakes in Marshall County. According to Esarey, History 
of Indiana, p. 337, Petit had a chapel at Chippewa, twenty-five miles south of 
Twin Lakes. 

15 Ann. Prof., n: 383. 


major share of his attention. Chichipi-Outipe, their most considerable 
village, situated on the Yellow River in Marshall County, some sixty 
miles south of the Michigan-Indiana state-line, was the chief center of 
his apostolate. In letters from his pen to be found in the early issues of 
the Annales de la Propagation de la Foi y he dwells with enthusiasm on 
the piety of his Indian neophytes and their preparedness for the ways 
of Christian virtue. The passionate zeal for souls of St. Francis Xavie* 
and other canonized apostles of the Faith lived again in the heart or 
Benjamin-Marie Petit. One thing alone cast a shadow over the fruitful 
ministry of the young clergyman and this was the impending removal 
of the Potawatomi to the West. 

By the thirties the removal of the Indian tribes east of the Missis- 
sippi River to unoccupied lands in the Indian Territory was in full 
process of operation as the recognized policy of the federal government. 
As far back as the administration of Washington the Indian title to 
possession (though not to absolute ownership) of lands claimed by the 
various tribes within the United States was considered a sound one in 
law and equity. As a consequence, the Indian title could not ordinarily 
be extinguished except by voluntary cession on the part of the natives. 
Hence the long series of treaties of cession between the federal author- 
ities and Indian tribes in various parts of the United States. In In- 
diana alone fifty-four transfers of land held by Indian title were re- 
corded between the years 1795 and 1838. As the line of white settlement 
moved steadily westward, the position of the Indians in the middle- 
western states became increasingly difficult. The disappearance of game 
incident upon the extension of civilized and settled life deprived them 
of a capital means of support while the' attempted maintenance of tribal 
relations and autonomy within the limits of the organized state govern- 
ments and the unwillingness or inability of the natives to conform to 
state laws brought them into frequent collision with the civil authorities. 
Most telling circumstance of all, their boundless acres were coveted by 
the hardy race of western pioneers and backwoodsmen and every form 
of pressure, not excepting in cases the most palpable fraud, was brought 
to bear upon the defenceless Indians to make them deed away their 
interest in the soil. At the same time, many friends of the Indians, 
among them ministers of the Gospel, were of opinion that the material 
and moral betterment of the natives could be secured only by isolating 
them from the corrupting influence of the whites. Hence, partly from 
selfish, partly from humanitarian motives, a government policy was 
elaborated looking to the ultimate transfer of all the Indian tribes east 
of the Mississippi to the vast, unorganized district known as the Indian 
Territory, where they were to be settled on reserves allotted to them 
in exchange for their ceded possessions in the East. Projected first by 


Monroe and his secretary of war, John C. Calhoun, and indorsed by 
John Quincy Adams, the policy found an ardent supporter in Jackson, 
who dwelt upon it in great detail in his messages to Congress. The law 
of May 28, 1830, authorized any Indian tribe at its option to trade its 
actual lands for lands beyond the Mississippi while the law of July 9, 
1832, appropriated twenty thousand dollars for the holding of councils 
among the Indians with a view to induce them to migrate thither. 16 

Through the operation of this governmental policy the Potawatomi 
of Indiana found themselves gradually dispossessed of their holdings. 
By the treaty of October 26, 1832, they ceded extensive tribal lands 
in the state, only reserving a few tracts for their chiefs. To Men-o-mi- 
nee was given a reservation lying around Twin Lakes and as far 
north as the present Plymouth in Marshall County, while to Chief 
Aub-be-naub-bee was assigned a large reservation around Maxin- 
kuckee. 17 With the exception of a mile-wide strip running north and 
south through Plymouth, which was given for the Michigan Road, the 
Indians were left in possession of all of Marshall County. In 1836 
Abel Pepper, Indian agent on behalf of the government, succeeded 
in buying Men-o-mi-nee's reserve at a dollar an acre, the Indians 
agreeing to give possession of the land at the expiration of two years. 
Meantime, squatters had settled here and there on the reserve to 
secure the benefits of a proposed preemption law. With the expiration 
on August 6, 1838, of the two-year limit, the whites demanded that the 
Indians vacate the reserve. This the Indians refused to do, having 
planted corn on assurance given them by officers of the government 
that they would not be required to give possession of the reserve until 
the land had been surveyed. The act of an Indian in battering down 
the door of a white settler, Watts, and threatening his life was met 
with reprisals by the whites, who burned twelve Indian cabins on 
the Yellow River. Pepper, fearing that bloodshed might ensue, ap- 
pealed to Governor Wallace for a force of a hundred soldiers. The 
governor ordered John Tipton to muster the military of Miami and 
Cass Counties and proceed to Twin Lakes. Here on August 29, the 
Indians, to the number of two hundred, were called together in 
council by Pepper and while thus assembled were surrounded by 
the military, disarmed and taken into custody. By September i over 
eight hundred Indians had been rounded up and on September 4 
they set out from Twin Lakes under military escort with Tipton in 

16 "Various missionaries and other friends of the Indians soon began to plead 
for help. Most of them agreed that it would be better to get the Indians beyond 
the frontier. It was a policy of the Jacksonian Democrats to get them out of the 
way of the white settlers." Esarey, of. cit., p. 333. 

17 Kappler, Indian Treaties, 2: 367. 


command. Their destination was the new reserve along the Osage 
River in what is now eastern Kansas, which had been given them by 
the treaty of February 11, 1837. Father Petit had left his mission at 
Twin Lakes shortly before the seizure of his parishioners. 18 

I said Mass there one morning, after which my dear little church was 
stripped of all its ornaments. On leaving I called my children together and 
addressed them for the last time. I wept, my hearers sobbed; it was enough 
to rend one's soul. We, a mission at the point of death, prayed for the success 
of other missions and sang together, "I put my trust, O Virgin, in thy help." 
The voice of the leader was choked with sobbing and few indeed were the 
voices that lasted to the end. I took my leave. It is sad, I assure you, for a 
missionary to see so young and vigorous an enterprise perish in his arms. Some 
days later I learned that the Indians, despite their peaceable intentions, had 
been surprised and made prisoners of war. Under pretext that a council was 
to be held, they had been collected together and then carried off by a military 
force to the number of eight hundred. 19 

The forced emigration in September, 1838, of eight hundred 
Potawatomi from their Indiana reserve to the Indian Territory remains 
to this day a little known episode in American history. The official 
rep9rt of the affair, compiled by General John Tipton, who was in 
charge of the emigrants as far as Danville, Illinois, declares that the 
measures employed against the Indians were resorted to in the inter- 
ests of public peace and security and to forestall a probable outbreak 
on their part. Bishop Brute, on the other hand, witnesses that the in- 
tentions of the Indians were peaceable and that the authorities alleged 

18 For an account (with bibliography) of the expulsion of the Potawatomi from 
Marshall County, Indiana, in September, 1838, cf. Esarey, of. cit. Cf. also for 
correspondence of Bishop Brute and the Catholic missionaries in regard to the 
Potawatomi of Indiana, Mary Salesia Godecker, O.S.B., Simon Brute de Remur, 
First Bishof of Vincennes (St. Meinrad, Indiana, 1931); "Correspondence on 
Indian Removal," in Mid-America, 15:177-192 (1933). The official report of 
General John Tipton, who was in charge of the troops that arrested the Indians 
and conducted them forcibly out of the state, is in the Report of the Commissioner 
of Indian A fairs (hereinafter cited as RCIA), No. 10, 1838. The report is ad- 
dressed to said commissioner and is a defense of the government's action. "It may be 
the opinion of those not well informed upon the subject that the expedition was 
uncalled for, but I feel confident that nothing but the presence of an armed force 
for the protection of the citizens of the State and to punish the insolence of the 
Indians could have prevented bloodshed." Esarey, on the contrary, sees in the inci- 
dent only an illustration of "the hatred which the Indiana settlers bore towards 
the Indians." 

w Ann. Prof., 11:393. The actual number of Indians in the party when it 
reached Sandusky Point, Illinois, September 1 8, was eight hundred and fifty-nine, 
as given by General Tipton in his report of that date. 


against them a treaty which they had never signed. 20 The view taken 
of the occurrence in later days by the people of Indiana has found 
expression in the statue of Men-o-mi-nee, erected in 1905 at Twin 
Lakes, Marshall County, in token of regret for what they feel to 
have been a measure of inhumanity perpetrated on the defenceless 
Indians. 21 

The invitation extended by General Tipton to Father Petit to ac- 
company the prisoners was at first declined, as Bishop Brute wished 
to avert any suspicion of connivance on the part of the ecclesiastical 
authorities in the drastic measures of the government. Later the Bishop 
changed his mind and to the missionary's great satisfaction allowed 
him to accompany the expedition on condition that he return to his 
diocese at the first summons. On September 9 the Bishop, assisted by 
Petit, administered confirmation to twenty of the Indians at their camp 
about a mile outside of Logansport. The priest then returned to South 
Bend to procure his baggage and on September 16 overtook the emi- 
grants at Danville. 22 From there the line of march was across Illinois 
to Quincy and thence southwest to the upper reaches of the Osage 

Nine days after reaching his destination Father Petit dispatched 
to his bishop a detailed account of the march from Indiana: 

I had scarcely arrived [at Danville] when a colonel came up looking 
for a suitable place to camp; a little later I saw my poor Christians marching 
in line and surrounded by soldiers, who hurried them along under a burning 
midday sun and amid clouds of dust. Then came the transport wagons, in 
which were huddled together numbers of the sick as well as women and 
children too weak to march. The party encamped about a half-mile from 
town and I was soon in their midst. I found the camp such as you saw it, 
Monseigneur, at Logansport, a scene of desolation with sick and dying on all 
sides. Nearly all the children, overcome by the heat, had dropped down in a 
state of utter weakness and exhaustion. I baptized some newly-born babies, 
happy Christians, whose first step was from the land of exile to the bliss of 
heaven. The General [Tipton], before whom I presented myself, expressed 

20 "You will only have been informed, respected Sir, that as a treaty which 
they had not signed was unhappily presented to them as a further inducement to 
leave, they could but at first represent that it could not be the real motive for 
them to depart." Brute to Harris, November 3, 1838. (H). 

21 Daniel M. McDonald, author of Removal of the Potazvatomi Indians from 
Northern Indiana (Plymouth, 1899), delivered an address in the Indiana House 
of Representatives, February 3, 1905, in support of a bill to erect a monument to 
Men-o-mi-nee and his tribesmen at Twin Lakes, Marshall County. 

22 Ann. Prof., 11:401. "By this time [i.e. at Logansport] the Indian children 
and old people were completely worn out. The children especially were dying in 
great numbers, not being used to such fare. Physicians from Logansport reached 
them on the Qth. and reported 300 unfit for travel." Esarey, of. cit., p. 337. 


his satisfaction at seeing me and with a condescension that was quite unex- 
pected rose from his chair, the only, one in the place, and offered it to me. 
This was the first night I spent under a tent; early next morning the Indians 
were piled into the transport wagons and the cavalcade proceeded on its way. 
Just as we were about to set out. Judge Polk, conductor-in-chief, came to 
offer me a horse which the Government had hired from an Indian for my use 
the whole length of the journey. 23 At the same time the Indian himself came 
up to me and said, "Father, I give it to you, saddle, bridle and all." We made 
for our next camping ground where a few days of rest were to be allowed. 
The six chiefs, hitherto treated as prisoners of war, were released on my 
parole and given the same liberty as the rest of the tribe. The order of march 
was as follows: the United States flag carried by a dragoon; next, one of the 
chief officers; next, the quartermaster's baggage; next, the wagons reserved 
all the way for the use of the Indian chiefs. Then one or two chiefs on horse- 
back headed a line of some 250 or 300 horses on which were mounted men, 
women and children, following one by one, as is the fashion of the savages. 
The flanks of the line were covered at intervals by dragoons and volunteers, 
who hurried on the stragglers, often with harsh gestures and abuse. Follow- 
ing this cavalcade came a string of forty transport wagons filled with baggage 
and Indians. The sick stretched out in the wagons were jolted about roughly 
under a canvas cover, which, far from protecting them from the dust and 
heat, only deprived them of air. They were in a manner buried under this 
broiling canvas with the result that several of them died. We camped only 
six miles from Danville, where on two successive days I had the happiness 
of celebrating holy Mass in the midst of rny Indian children. I administered 
the sacraments to several who were dying, and baptized a few more infants. 
When we struck camp two days later, we left behind us six in their graves 
under the shadow of the cross. There the General [Tipton] took leave of his 
little army and left us; he had announced his intentions of doing so immedi- 
ately on my arrival. 

We soon found ourselves amid the great prairies of Illinois under a de- 
vouring sun and without the least shelter from one camp to another. These 
prairies are as vast as the Ocean; the eye grows weary looking for a tree. 
Not a drop of water on the way; it was a veritable torture for our poor sick, 
among whom there were deaths every day from exhaustion and fatigue. We 
soon resumed evening prayers in common and the Americans, attracted by 
curiosity, were astonished to find so much piety in the midst of so many trials. 
Our evening exercises consisted of a chapter of the Catechism, prayer and 
the hymn, "I put my Trust," which I intoned in the Indian language and 
which was repeated by the whole congregation with the elan which these new 
Christians display in all their religious practices. 

23 Judge William Polk, appointed to conduct the Indians west of the Missis- 
sippi, took them in charge at Sandusky Point, near Danville, on September 18. The 
military escort consisted of only fifteen men. Polk's journal of the emigration is 
in Indiana Magazine of History, XXI (1925). Another English version of Petit's 
letter is in Rothensteiner, History of the Archdiocese of St. Louis , 2: 68 1 et seq. 


Permission had been given to the Indians to hunt along the way; and so 
from the Illinois River almost up to the line of the Indian Territory, they 
made great havoc among the squirrels, turkeys and pheasants of this magnifi- 
cent hunting country. But we were taken back on seeing, as we came up to 
the district assigned to them, that game became scarcer while the woods 
dwindled into petty thickets along the margins of the streams that irrigate the 
vast prairies far and near. At a day's journey from the river of the Osages 
we were met by Father Hoecken of the Company of Jesus. This Father, who 
spoke Potawatomi and Kickapoo, declared his intention of quitting the Kicka- 
poo country where he at present resides and settling down among my Chris- 
tians. Amid the pains of exile and the ravages of disease the infant Christian 
community has received all the aids of religion; the sick have received the 
sacraments, the grounds which encloses the ashes of the dead is blessed 
ground; faith, together with the practice of religious duties, has been fostered;. 
and even in their temporal distresses the Father of these poor creatures, as 
they name him, has often had the consolation of coming to their aid. In fine, 
committed now to the skilful hands of the Jesuit Fathers, they need no longer 
deplore the violence which wrested them from our midst, from the country, 
to use their own expression, where their fathers lie, only to entrust them anew 
to these same Religious who more than a century ago imprinted on the hearts 
of these tribes lasting impressions so favorable to Catholicity. You, Mon- 
seigneur, looked only to the glory of God and the salvation of these Chris- 
tians; I, for may part, desired nothing else. Let us hope that our intentions 
will be realized. 24 

The Indians reached their journey's end November 4, 1838, two 
months to a day since their departure from Twin Lakes. Of the eight 
hundred and more who had left Indiana, about six hundred and fifty 
survived the journey. Of the remaining number, some thirty died 
while the rest deserted. 25 

During the six weeks that he spent with the Potawatomi in their 
new home Father Petit lay stretched out on a mat in the grip of a 
devouring fever, with no shelter save a tent though it was in the 
heart of winter. Father Christian Hoecken, who had some knowledge 
of medicine, did his best to relieve the sufferings of the courageous 
priest though not much could be done with the slender means at his 
disposal. The sick man, however, was somewhat restored when he 
received orders from Bishop Brute to return to Indiana. He set out 
January 2, 1839, making the first one hundred and fifty miles on horse- 
back and then taking the stage to Jefferson City. After a day's stay 
in the Missouri capital he travelled with an Indian companion in a 

24 Ann. Prop., 1 1 : 4.00-405. 

25 This is Father Petit's estimate, which apparently does not bear out Esarey's 
statement that the journey "cost the lives of one-fifth of the tribe." 


covered wagon to St. Louis, the roads being wretched and rain frequent. 
With three great open sores draining his strength, he reached St. Louis 
University in a state of exhaustion and was there given every attention 
which the fathers could bestow. He still hoped to be able, on the 
opening of navigation on the Wabash, to take a steamboat for that 
river, by which route he could reach his bishop in Vincennes, but 
his condition grew steadily worse and on February 10, three weeks 
after his arrival in St. Louis, he passed away. The circumstances of 
his death were reported by Father Elet, president of St. Louis Uni- 
versity, to Bishop Brute: 

What a great loss your diocese has just sustained in the person of Mr. 
Petit. He arrived in St. Louis January 15 pitifully reduced with fever. No 
doubt God gave him strength beyond the natural strength of his body that he 
might have the consolation of coming here to finish his days in the midst of 
brethren and that we might have the happiness of being edified by his virtues. 
What patience and resignation ! What gratitude towards those who waited on 
him! but above all what a tender piety towards the Mother of the Savior! 
He begged me on the eve of the Purification for permission to celebrate holy 
Mass in honor of the good Mother who had protected him from his tenderest 
years and whom he had never ceased to cherish. So intense was his desire 
that, despite the anxiety I felt on account of his extreme weakness, I acceded 
to his request. I had an altar arranged in a room adjoining his own, a fire 
was lit early in the morning and there he said his last Mass assisted by one 
of Ours. From that time on he suffered less, slept soundly during three nights 
and on the whole felt much relieved. But on the 6th all indications were 
that his case was hopeless. On the 8th Mr. Petit received the last sacraments 
with angelic piety. Towards evening on the loth word was brought to me 
that the end was coming. I hastened at once to his bedside. When he saw me 
he raised his head and bowed with a sweet smile upon his dying lips. I asked 
him if he suffered much. His only answer was an expressive glance at the 
crucifix that hung by his bed. "You mean," I put in at once, "that He has 
suffered more for you." "Oh, yes!" came the reply. I put the crucifix to his 
lips and twice did he kiss it tenderly. I disposed him anew for absolution, 
which I gave him. Summoned back at ten at night, I found him in his agony. 
We recited the prayers of the agonizing, which he followed, his eyes steadily 
fixed upon us. He expired calmly twenty minutes before midnight, having 
lived twenty-seven years and ten months. According to the custom of our 
Society, I had the body laid out in sacerdotal vestments. On the nth at 
5 o'clock in the evening the whole community assembled in the chapel to 
recite the Office of the Dead. On the I2th the solemn obsequies took place. 
Our Fathers, the priests of the Cathedral and two Bishops assisted. I sang 
the Mass; Mgr. Loras pronounced the absolution. A great number of Catho- 
lics on horseback or in carriages accompanied the remains to the cemetery. 
I conclude, Monseigneur, by praying the Father of Mercies to try you in 
some other way than by carrying off from your diocese men of such useful- 


ness as him whose death we deplore, however much we may comfort ourselves 
with the memory of his edifying life. 26 

A correspondence of Bishop Brute with Father Elet reveals the 
grief he felt over the young priest's premature death. "My heart is 
so full that tears start to my eyes as I write his name." He thanked 
the fathers of St. Louis University as also Father Hoecken for the 
charity shown by them to "our dear Mr. Petit." He sent Petit's forty- 
dollar watch to Hoecken and an extra watch belonging to the dead 
priest to another Indian missionary "to mark the hours of doing them 
[the Indians] good" (pour marquer Us heures de lew tyire d,u Ken). 
He thanked the fathers in St. Louis for gathering together Petit's 
papers^ books and other effects, among them a chalice, adding a re- 
quest that the chalice be returned as he had need of it, being obliged 
to tolerate one of tin in a certain parish of his diocese. There was an 
inquiry, too, from the Bishop as to whether anything was known of a 
claim of two hundred dollars, this being money lent by Petit to an old 
Potawatomi chief to defray the expenses of his trip to Washington. 
The missionary had made his will two months before his ordination. 
"His will leaves me all his belongings in America," wrote the Bishop 
to Elet. "On opening it I found in four or five lines a disposal of his 
property in my favor as also a commission to send his crucifix to his 
brother; but there were -in addition five or six lines of so edifying a 
character that I transcribe them here: 'In the name of the Father and 
of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. If it should please God to send me 
death I accept it in all love and submission to his amiable Providence 
and I hope that his mercy will have pity on me at the last moment. I 
commend myself to Mary now and at the hour of my death. Vincennes, 
Aug. 17, i837.'" 27 


The Potawatomi of Michigan, Indiana, and Illinois emigrated 
westward in successive bands or detachments. Sometimes they settled, 
at least temporarily, on lands not belonging to them and even mingled 
with other tribes so that their movements in the Indian country are not 
always easy to trace. 28 By the summer of 1838 the emigrant Potawatomi 

26 Tr. from contemporary copy (A). Cf. also Ann. Prop., 11:397,408. 

27 Brute a Elet, Feb. 28, March 19, April 6, 1839. (A). Father Petit's remains 
were removed in the fifties to Notre Dame University where they are held in honor. 

28 The government plan of establishing the Indians on new lands in the West 
was evolved through successive stages. Jefferson's idea was to allot the entire 
Louisiana Purchase for an Indian reserve. This idea was abandoned for that of three 
great Indian reservations in the West, which plan was also never realized, the 


were grouped into two chief divisions, known respectively as those o 
the Council Bluffs and Osage River sub-agencies. 20 The Council Bluffs 
Potawatomi, also known as the Prairie band, but more correctly styled 
the "United Nation of the Ottawa, Chippewa and Potawatomi" had 
come chiefly from northeastern Illinois, many of them from Chicago 
or its immediate vicinity. 30 In 1840 the Potawatomi of the Osage 
River district numbered 2,153. Up to that date five distinct parties of 
them had settled in what is now southeastern Kansas. They were di- 
vided into three bands. The St. Joseph band was located in part on 
Pottawatomie Creek, one of the main tributaries of the Marais des 

system ultimately adopted being that of separate reservations for the separate tribes, 
which system has in turn been gradually disappearing before the policy of allotting 
the Indians their lands in severally. Isaac McCoy, The Annual Register of Indian 
Affairs within the Indian (or Western) Territory (Shawanoe Baptist Mission 
House, Indian Territory, 1838). In 1838 the whole vast stretch of unorganized 
and, as far as the whites were concerned, uninhabited territory west of the 
Arkansas and Missouri state-lines was described vaguely as the "Indian country" or 
territory. An act of Congress of June 30, 1834, regulating trade and intercourse 
with the Indians, declared that "all that part of the United States west of the 
Mississippi and not within the States of Missouri and Louisiana or the Territory 
of Arkansas shall for the purpose of that Act be considered the Indian country." 
"By Indian Territory is meant the country within the following limits. Beginning 
on Red River on the Mexican boundary and as far west of Arkansas Territory as 
the country is habitable. Then down Red River eastwardly along the Mexican 
boundary to Arkansas Territory, thence northward along the line of Arkansas 
Territory to the State of Missouri ; thence north along its west line to the Missouri 
River; thence up Missouri River to Puncah River; thence westward as far as the 
country is habitable; thence southward to the beginning." McCoy, Register of 
Indian Affairs, 1838. See also Lawrence F. Schmeckebier, The Office of Indian 
Affairs, its History, Activities and Organization (Baltimore, 1927). 

29 In 1838 the federal administration of Indian affairs was operating according 
to the following system. An Indian Bureau in Washington, an appanage of the 
War Department, was presided over by a commissioner of Indian affairs. Subordi- 
nate to him were four superintendents, each charged with one of the four super- 
intendences, namely, Michigan, Wisconsin, St. Louis and the Western Territory 
into which the country as far as inhabited by Indians was divided. The superin- 
tendences were in turn organized into agencies and sub-agencies. The St. Louis 
superintendency, which had jurisdiction over all the tribes north of the Osage 
River, embraced the following agencies and sub-agencies: (i) agency of Fort 
Leavenworth (Delaware, Kansa, Shawnee, Kickapoo) ; (2) agency of Council 
Bluffs (Oto, Missouri, Omaha, Pawnee) ; (3) agency of upper Missouri (Sioux of 
Missouri River, Cheyenne, Ponca) ; (4.) sub-agency of Missouri River (Mandan, 
Assiniboin, Blackfeet, Crows, Aricara, and Gros Ventres) 5(5) sub-agency of Coun- 
cil Bluffs (Ottawa, Chippewa, Potawatomi) ; (6) sub-agency of Great Nemahaw 
(Iowa and Sauk of Missouri) ; (7) sub-agency of Osage River (Potawatomi, Ottawa, 
Peoria, Kaskaskia, Piankashaw, Wea). The Osage sub-agency (Osage River) was 
attached to the superintendency of the Western Territory, to which also belonged 
the Choktaw, Creeks, Cherokee and Seminole. 

80 Cf . xtfra, Chap. XIII, "The Potawatomi Mission of Council Bluffs." 


Cygnes or upper Osage River. The Potawatomi of the Wabash resided 
about fifteen miles south of the former between the north and south 
forks of Big Sugar Creek, likewise a tributary of the Marais des Cygnes 
and so named because the sugar-maple was abundant along its banks. 
The Potawatomi of the Prairie were dispersed among their kinsmen 
at both creeks, while some of them were living with their friends, the 
Kickapoo, in the Fort Leavenworth agency. 31 

In the summer of 1835 Father Van Quickenborne in the course of 
a prospecting trip to the Indian country met a band of Potawatomi 
Indians, of the so-called Prairie band, who petitioned for the favor 
of a Catholic missionary. 32 Later the Indiana Potawatomi began to ar- 
rive ; in 1837 about one hundred and fifty of them, many of whom 
had been baptized by Fathers Badin and Deseille, were settled on 
lands allotted to them along the course of Pottawatomie Creek. Some- 
times before the close of that year a chief of these Christian Potawatomi, 
Nesfwawke by name, communicated with Father Christian Hoecken, 
superior of the Kickapoo Mission, earnestly entreating him to minister 
to the spiritual needs of his people. This the missionary did in Jan- 
uary, 1838, staying two weeks at Pottawatomie Creek and favoring 
the delighted Indians with the celebration of Mass. On January 30, in 
the course of this visit, he united in marriage Wawiakachi and Josette, 

S1 RCIA 3 1840, gives the total number of Potawatomi in the Osage River sub- 
agency as 2153, the result of five distinct emigrations. The first emigration took 
place in 1834 or somewhat earlier, the participants being apparently Potawatomi 
of the so-called Prairie Band ("United Nation" or Chippewa, Ottawa, and Pota- 
watomi). Their number, originally 441, had risen in July, 1837, to 658. Two 
minor emigrations, one of 160, the other of 50, followed. In November, 1838, 
Polk's party arrived, followed in 1840 by a contingent of 526. All the Osage 
River Potawatomi, except the first 658, were from Indiana and Michigan. There 
still remained in Indiana around the lower end of Lake Michigan about two 
hundred Potawatomi, who had eluded the search of the government agents charged 
with their removal to the West. The 1840 contingent was accompanied by a 
secular priest, Reverend S. A. Bernier, who presented to the Indian Office, January 
14, 1844, a bill for six hundred and fifty dollars, for expenses, alleging that 
without his intervention the Indians would not have migrated. (H). 

The Potawatomi reserve was laid out by Isaac McCoy in accordance with the 
treaty of 1837. "This treaty was negotiated, as treaties so often were, to our 
national discredit, in a rather questionable manner; for instead of dealing with the 
tribe in its authorized council, the federal agents conferred with individual 
Chiefs." (Anne Heloise Abel in Kansas Historical Collections, 8: 82). 

The reserve comprised a tract now within the limits of Linn and Miami Coun- 
ties, and, except for an outlet on the west, was completely surrounded by other 
Indian reserves, the New York Indians being on the south, the Miami on the 
east, the Peoria and Kaskaskia, Ottawa, Chippewa and Sauk and Foxes of the 
Mississippi on the north. 

82 Ann. Prof., 9: 102. Cf. sufra, Chap. XIII, 2. 


a daughter of Nesfwawke, as also Chachapaki and Wawasemokwe, the 
last-named also a daughter of the same chief. These are the earliest 
recorded marriages among the Potawatomi of the Osage River. 33 In 
May of the same year he again visited Pottawatomie Creek, this time 
in company with Father Verhaegen, superior of the midwestern Jesuits. 
Verhaegen's account of this trip reveals the difficulties of missionary 
travel in eastern Kansas at this early date: 

After settling the affairs of this mission [Kickapoo] I took leave of my 
brethren and, taking Father Hoecken along with me for companion, set out 
on a visit to the Potawatomi, who dwell on the banks of the Osage River. 
The Father had been in that locality before and felt sure of the way. The 
first day out we passed through the lands of the Delaware and Shawnee. We 
counted on spending the night in a cabin of the last-named tribe, but lost 
our way in a vast prairie and had to wait for day-break. A missionary setting 
out on a trip of this kind must provide against such contingencies. Each of 
us was accordingly furnished with a woolen blanket and some eatables. We 
hastily set up a little hut at the edge of a thicket. A few poles planted in the 
ground and then tied at the ends to form a little bower and covered with 
brushwood and hay made up the outer framework. The interior was soon 
put in order. Some handfuls of hay thrown on the grass was our bed and 
our valises served as pillows. Then we started a big fire some distance from 
the opening and tied our horses in a way that left them free to graze. This 
work done, we partook of a supper, which was indeed a frugal one for 
we were without even water. The night was cold and pitch dark and, though 
well covered up in our blankets and near the fire, we found difficulty in 
getting to sleep. The patches of woodland found at intervals on this immense 
prairie are haunted by wild* beasts. Wolves, wild-cats, foxes and many other 
animals have their lairs therein. They come out at night and make a noise 
which would frighten the inexperienced traveller. We felt at ease in our 
quarters, but being stiff with cold welcomed the first gleams of dawn. 

We set out at day-break, taking a beaten path that led us into a woods. 
Presently the sky became overcast; it began to hail, then to snow and finally 
to rain in torrents. We were attired Indian-fashion, that is, wrapt up in our 
blankets, which protected us pretty well against the rain. On coming out of 
the woods we saw two cabins and a fire before the door of the nearer one. 
What a consolation for men that had lost their way! We made thither with 
eagerness and found there two Indian women preparing their breakfast. The 
Father addressed them in Kickapoo, but they showed by signs that they did 
not understand. He then spoke to them in Potawatomi. Joy at once lit up 
their faces and they answered. The two women had come from the same 

38 Diary of Father Hoecken, Archives of St. Mary's College, St. Marys, Kansas. 
For translation of this document (the original is in Latin) cf. the Dial (1890), a 
student publication of St. Mary's College. The translation, by Rev. James O'Mcara, 
S.J., is reproduced in Thomas H. Kinsella, The History of Our Cradle Land 
(Kansas City, 1921). 


place as ourselves and like us also were on their way to the Osage River. 
They were to resume their journey immediately after breakfast. We gave 
them a portion of our victuals and on their part they allowed us to partake 
of some boiled corn. Breakfast finished, they rose up, seized their horses 
which were grazing about, saddled them, loaded them with their modest 
baggage and started off before us to show us the way. 34 

That day, at seven in the evening, the missionaries arrived at the 
cabin of Napoleon Bourassa, a Potawatomi headman, who, on behalf 
of the other chiefs, had written to Verhaegen imploring him to send 
them a priest. Bourassa spoke both English and French with facility, 
having been educated in a Catholic school in Kentucky. He was a devout 
and practical Catholic and used his deservedly great influence over his 
fellow-tribesmen to keep them in the ways of Christian living. To the 
missionaries on the occasion of this visit he showed every attention, 
sending a messenger to the principal chief Nesfwawke to invite him 
to meet the missionaries on the following day, which he did. Nesfwawke 
in his speech on the occasion expressed his regret that Father Hoecken 
had not returned sooner after his first visit as he had engaged to do. 
Many of the Indians, under the impression that the black-robes had 
quite abandoned them, had given themselves over to excesses of every 
sort. Hard drinking was prevalent and the tribe was thinning out under 
its ravages. Within two or three months, as Nesfwawke had been in- 
formed by letter, the Potawatomi of the St. Joseph would be here. 
"Convinced that you would come to our assistance, I had assurance 
given them that on their arrival they would only have to come to 
my abode and from my lodge they would behold the cabins of our 
brothers and the house of God. Have pity on us, then, and suffer not 
that my Catholic brothers, to the number of more than a thousand, 
should given themselves up to despair on not finding you here." 
Father Hoecken answered the chief that evil conditions among the 
Kickapoo and the hope he entertained of having Father Verhaegen 
accompany him on the present visit had led him to delay it until the 
spring. Then the chief asked Verhaegen what he proposed to do for 
the Indians of Pottawatomie Creek, to which the superior answered that 
they would not be abandoned, that Father Hoecken would have a 
care of them and that he hoped to see a church and school built for 
them in a year's time. He himself was to leave for St. Louis the next 
day, but Hoecken would remain with the Indians for some time to 
relieve their needs. In the afternoon some of the Indian women 
gathered in Bourassa's cabin to sing from printed hymn-books in their 
possession. "I was delighted with their tuneful singing," relates Ver- 

34 Ann. Prof., 11:472. 


haegen, "and tears came to my eyes as I thought of the happiness 
enjoyed by those people while so many of their neighbors were still 
plunged in the darkness of paganism." 35 

The Jesuit superior, having thus held out to the Indians the hope 
of receiving a resident priest, left them to go to Westport while Father 
Hoecken continued his ministry among them for three weeks. After 
consultation with his official advisers in St. Louis September 6, 1838, 
Verhaegen determined to open a permanent mission among the Pota- 
watomi. In pursuance of this plan Christian Hoecken was directed to 
take up his residence among those of the tribe who were living on 
Pottawatomie Creek/ Once a month, at a point half-way between the two 
missions, he was to meet Father Eysvogels, who was to remain with 
the Kickapoo, opportunity being thereby offered each of the priests to 
make his confession. Hoecken arrived at his new post on October 2 
in time to welcome Petit and his expatriated Indians, who reached 
Pottawatomie Creek November 4 of the same year. 

One could have no misgivings of the spiritual success of a mission 
recruited from the Potawatomi converts of Indiana. From its first set- 
ting up at the hands of Christian Hoecken it was an illustration in the 
concrete of the efficacy of the Gospel message in taming the heart of 
the savage and moulding him to the ways of orderly and upright living. 
Verhaegen wrote in 1839: 

This is the most flourishing of all the Indian missions and realizes the 
accounts which we read of the missions of Paraguay. A letter of the mis- 
sionary received in January last states that on Christmas one hundred and 
fifty approached the sacred table and all who could be spared from domestic 
duties assisted with great devotion at the three solemn Masses, the first at 
mid-night, the second at day-break and the third at 10:30 o'clock. There is 
but one Father at present at the station and as his presence is almost always 
required among his six hundred Catholics, he cannot make frequent excur- 
sions to the neighboring tribes. The catechists, however, perform this duty 
for him and often return with several adults ready to receive baptism. 

To Father Hoecken, with his disappointing labors among the Kicka- 
poo to look back upon, the piety of his new flock was a source of the 
deepest consolation. He wrote to Father Roothaan, the General: 

Never does a day pass without our seeing some one receive the sacra- 
ments. On feast days the participants increase to twenty or thirty. One very 
striking trait of theirs is a blind obedience not merely to the orders of the 
priest, but to his least desire, and with a strange sort of childish indecision 
they refuse to undertake anything without his counsel. 

85 Ann. Prop., 1 1 : 476. Napoleon Bourassa was married to Memetekosikwe, 
December 10, 1838, by Father Hoecken, Father Petit being witness. 


Without affection for the things of earth, they look for no result from 
their labors beyond the supply of their actual needs. Elsewhere the cultiva- 
tion of the soil devolves upon the men as the stronger sex; here it becomes 
the duty of the women. With a view to setting right this perverted order of 
occupation and of instilling a love of agriculture in the very class that can 
pursue it with more profit, I got together all the men of the tribe one spring 
day and gave them some lessons in farming. There was amazement as well 
as gratification on all hands at my instructions. From the exposition of theory 
to its application the step was quickly taken, and for the double purpose of 
directing the labors of my Indians and stirring their emulation, I put myself 
at their head, handling the farming implements myself and teaching them to 
use them as I did. This toil practiced in common has not been without results; 
greater care in cultivation has filled the furrows with more abundant crops 
and never have the Indians harvested more grain than in the past autumn. 
I hope this will encourage them. The future will see them develop under 
the impulse of their first success that science of agriculture of which I have 
imparted to them the elementary notions. . . . 

The Indians, I repeat, whom grace has converted through my ministry, 
are holy souls, generous towards God and edifying to their brethren. Their 
piety, earnest and courageous in regard to our Divine Lord, takes on a filial 
tenderness towards Mary. After our example they call her their dear Mother. 
Every day their love finds an outlet in the canticles which they sing in 
her honor. They are faithful in the practice of the Rosary and in their walks 
and expeditions are happy in fingering their beads and reciting the accom- 
panying prayers. 

Permit me in conclusion, Reverend Father, to repeat what I said before: 
here among the savages the harvest is abundant and ripe, but hands are want- 
ing to gather it in. A hundred tribes cry aloud for missionaries to teach them 
the principles of Catholic faith, the nature of their duties and the laws of 
morality. As far as I am personally concerned, I have only one desire, and 
that is to live among the Indians and to find the place of my last sleep some- 
where beyond the Rocky Mountains. 86 

On March 10, 1839, the Catholic Indians shifted their position 
from Pottawatomie Creek (near Osawatomie) to Sugar Creek, fifteen 
miles south, both streams being tributaries of the Osage River. The 
new mission-site was situated "about 15 miles directly west from the 
point where the military road leading from Fort Leavenworth to Fort 
Scott crosses the Osage River." This location is nearly twenty-five miles 
northwest of Fort Scott and in the immediate vicinity o the present 
Centerville, Linn County, Kansas. 87 

86 Aim. Prop., 13: 61-65. The hymn-books in the Indians > possession were very 
likely Father Baraga's edition in Ottawa. "They [Sugar Creek catechists] followed 
for their instructions the Ottawa catechism published by the Rev. Mr. Baraga, who 
had converted to the faith many of the Ottawas." Verreydt, Memoirs. (A) . 

87 Verreydt's school-report for year ending September 30, 1843. (H). The St. 


The work of evangelizing the Indians went on apace. Before July, 
1839, Hoecken's converts numbered a hundred. But his health broke 
under the strain. While Father Verhaegen was on his way in the sum- 
mer of 1 839 from the Kickapoo to Sugar Creek, he was met by Hoecken, 
who informed him that the streams were swollen and that further 
travel in the direction of the mission was impracticable. At this in- 
telligence the superior at once turned back on the road by which he 
had come, but had not proceeded far when word was brought him that 
Father Hoecken had been suddenly stricken with a serious illness. The 
superior hastened at once to the relief of his fellow-Jesuit and did 
what he could to restore him. The sick man rallied, but Verhaegen, 
alarmed at his weakened condition, determined to recall him. Father 
Herman Aelen, who had recently filled the office of treasurer of St. 
Louis University, arrived at Sugar Creek on April 26, 1839, with 
Brother Francis Van der Borght. The following July Christian Hoecken 
left the Indian country to retire to the novitiate in Florissant. Aelen 
himself was recalled from the mission in August, 1841, but did not 
actually relinquish his post until June, 1 842. To him, it would appear, 

Louis Archdiocesan Archives contain a report of Father Aelen dated May 14, 1839, 
"Ex offido Potowatomlensmm profe -jlumen Osage" According to Aelen the mis- 
sionaries had given the name "St. Mary's Creek" to Sugar Creek. Thus, Hoecken's 
name for it was "Riviere Ste. Marie" (Baptismal Register, April-June, 1839). 
Aelen immediately on his arrival began to write Sugar Creek in the records (July, 
1839, "a la riviere de Sucre"). The first recorded baptisms among the Osage River 
Potawatomi were by Father Petit, who towards the end of September, 1838, 
baptized a child named Marie, daughter of Penneche, as also Angelique, daughter 
of Mcngosse, John Tipton being god-father. The following October Hoecken 
baptized nine persons "near [or at] the river commonly called Putawatomie 
Creek," J. N. Bourassa being god-father for seven. All the fourteen baptisms in 
1838, except two, were by Hoecken. The baptisms by Hoecken and Aelen in 1839 
were distributed thus: Potawatomi, 63; Ottawa, 12; Peoria, II; Wea, 3; Pianke- 
shaw, 2; Sioux, I; Iroquois, I; Americans, 15. Of the 125 baptized in 1840, 102 
were Potawatomi, 1 1 Ottawa, i Chippewa and 1 1 Americans. -The first marriage 
entered in the records (January 30, 1838) is that of Josette, daughter of Nesf- 
wawke, "living at that time on the Osage River." Father Hoecken performed the 
ceremony. The same father also married J. N. Bourassa and Memetekosikwe 
"before Rev. Mr. Petit and Mesgami [?]" on December 10, 18385 Pierre Moose 
and Marguerithe Maneto, daughter of Tchisaken "at St. Mary's River," on June 6, 
18395 and Ignace Nekwoishuk (usually known as Andrew Jackson) and Marie 
Anne N-gokwe on September 15, 1839. (A son of this Pierre Moose, Paschal 
Baylon Moose, was born May 15, 1843). Joseph Wiwisse, chief, was married to 
Marie Otukwoi (Otekkwoe), March 25, 1839. (Variants in the spelling of the 
name, Wiwisse, e. g., Wewesa, occur in the records.) The Ottawa village is indicated 
as place of residence of William Phelps and his wife Angelique Roi. (F). 

According to Kinsella, The History of Our Cradle Land, p. 1 2, the site of the 
Sugar Creek mission was "five and a half miles northeast on the Michael Zimmer- 
man farm, but almost four miles in a direct line from Centerville." 


belongs the distinction of having named the mission for the Immacu- 
late Conception of the Mother of God. "If it please your Grace/ 3 he 
wrote to Bishop Rosati May 14, 1839, "I would call this mission 
Conceptio Beatae Mariae Virgmis" Aelen was succeeded as superior of 
the mission by Father Felix Verreydt, who with Father Christian 
Hoecken and Brothers Andrew Mazzella and George Miles arrived at 
Sugar Creek on August 29, 1841. Father Anthony Eysvogels had pre- 
ceded them in May or June of the same year. In 1842 the mission- 
staff consisted of Fathers Verreydt, Christian Hoecken, Adrian Hoecken 
and Eysvogels, together with the coadjutor-brothers, Mazella, Miles 
and Van der Borght. The names of Fathers Francis Xavier De Coen 
and Charles Truyens, John F. Diels, a scholastic, and Brother Patrick 
Ragan complete the list of Jesuits who labored at Sugar Creek. Verreydt 
remained in charge of the mission from his arrival in August, 1841, 
until its transfer to the Kaw River in 1848. De Coen left in October, 
1846, his place being taken in 1 847 by Truyens. Francis Van der Borght, 
the first lay brother at the mission, arrived with Aelen in 1839 an d 
remained until June, 1 845, when Father Van de Velde, on making the 
visitation of Sugar Creek, detached him from the mission-staff and took 
him to St. Louis. 


Besides obtaining a grant of money for the building of a church, 
the mission at Sugar Creek was the recipient of an annual subsidy of 
three hundred dollars appropriated out of the so-called Civilization 
Fund. The subsidy was originally allotted to Father Petit's Potawatomi 
mission on the Yellow River in Marshall County, Indiana, but was 
continued in favor of the Sugar Creek mission on the removal of the 
Indians to the latter in the autumn of 1838. Reports that Petit had 
used his influence with the Indians to prevail upon them to resist the 
deportation at first led government to withhold for a while the money 
due to the missionary ; it was only after much correspondence, in which 
the true attitude of Petit was brought to light, that it was decided to 
continue the appropriation. Three hundred dollars a year may appear 
a paltry sum for the support of an Indian mission 5 but it seemed im- 
portant enough to Bishop Brute to engage him in earnest correspond- 
ence with Washington over its payment to Petit. He wrote to Commis- 
sioner of Indian Affairs Harris in November, 1838: 

I was starting for the North, when Hon. Mr. Law communicated to me 
your letter stating that according to the reports of the agents, it would be 
"improper" to allow the claim of the Bishop of Vincennes for the mission- 
aries employed in the civilization of the Potawatomi Indians of this state, 


$300 for the year expiring on the igth of April, 1838. Said reports insinuated 
that the missionaries, both Rev. Mr. DeSeilles, who died after seven years 
consumed in that humane work, uninterruptedly living among the Indians 
and having never received from Government but a first year of the $300 
. . . and his successor, Rev. Mr. Petit, now accompanying Judge Polk for 
the leading of the Indians to the Mississippi, had exerted their influence "to 
oppose the intentions of Government for the benefit of these Indians." I 
respectfully observe to you that the success of both M. DeSeilles and M. Petit 
in fulfilling the great object of ameliorating the morals, social temper and 
habits and whole condition of the portion of the Indians who obeyed their 
wholesome directions and cares, was on the contrary so remarkable as to 
excite the most uniform and lively appreciation of the whole country and our 
most enlightened and benevolent citizens in South Bend and Logansport. 
They rendered their Christian Indians as worthy to be granted some excep- 
tion to remain and live under the laws of our state, as those who have long 
enjoyed the same in other states, Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New 
York, etc. To solicit in their behalf in the most orderly an i legal manner, 
not meddling besides with the Indians at large, whether Potawatomi or 
Miami, was my only fault and as for opposition, the very fact of their so 
peaceable departure as well as the manner in which General Tipton and Hon. 
Judge Polk have appreciated the conduct of the Rev. Mr. Petit, are the best 
answers to any incorrect report that may have been sent in relation to 
myself and my friend. 38 

Father Petit himself in a letter to General Tipton dated Pottawa- 
tomie Creek, Indian Country, November 26, 1838, asked him to use his 
influence to obtain the payment of the three hundred dollars due to his 
abandoned mission on the Yellow River. After mentioning the charges 
alleged against him, on the ground of which Brute's first application 
for the sum was refused, he continued: 

88 Brute to Crawford, November 3, 1839. (H). On November 8 Brute wrote 
again to the Indian Bureau expressing his satisfaction that the Bureau had been set 
right in regard to the complaints made against himself and Petit. General Tipton 
in his official report of the deportation (RCIA, 1838) renders the following testi- 
mony in favor of Petit: "Three of their principal men, however, expressed a wish 
to be governed by the advice of their priest, Mr. Petit, a Catholic gentleman, who 
had resided with them up to the commencement of the quarrel between the 
Indians and the whites, when he left Twin Lakes and retired to South Bend. I 
addressed a letter, inviting him to join the emigration and go west. He accepted 
the invitation and I am happy to inform you that he joined us two days ago and is 
going west with the Indians. It is but justice to him that I should say that he has, 
both by precept and example, produced a very favorable change in the morals and 
industry of the Indians, that his untiring zeal in the cause of civilization has been 
and will continue to be eminently beneficial to these unfortunate Po-tawatomies 
when they reach their new abode. All are now satisfied and appear anxious to 
proceed on their journey to their new home, where they anticipate peace, security 
and happiness." 


I am happy to inform you, General, that I met here a Jesuit Father sent 
by the Society who is especially intrusted with the care of these Indian Mis- 
sions. He will make his residence among these Indians. The Society has the 
intention to put up a school and to spare nothing for the improvement of these 
good Indians. For any person who is a little acquainted with the Jesuits, it is 
no doubt that they will be successful in their mission here as well as any- 
where else. Their preceding success in anything of that kind is a sure guar- 
antee for the future. It is in their hands that I will commit with confidence 
these Christians, whose pastor God called me to be; and it is to them and 
for them as my successors that I claim the execution of the Government's 
engagements and the allocation for the support of the priest. 39 

This letter of Petit's was forwarded by Tipton to the Bureau of 
Indian Affairs with the recommendation that the allowance in ques- 
tion be raised to four hundred dollars. "I know not," he commented, 
"what grounds there may have been to justify the opinion given to 
your Department that Mr. Petit opposed the removal of the Indians 
from Indiana. I am happy to inform you that his conduct at the time 
and since I was engaged in the emigration has been such as to convince 
every one that he entered heartily into the removal and was very use- 
ful in reconciling the Indians and in administering to the sick and 
afflicted on their journey West." 40 The charges against Petit were 
finally dropped by the Indian Bureau as groundless. General Tipton's 
letter to Commissioner Crawford bears the following indorsement of 
the Bureau: "If there were no other motive for withholding the $300 
than the one herein alleged, Mr. Petit's conduct subsequently when 
under General Tipton sufficiently disproves the accusation and he 
ought to be paid the amount out of the education fund. The sum of 
$300 may be continued to this mission and be paid through Bishop 
Brute 5 and the buildings promised by General Tipton may be erected 
and paid for out of the civilization fund." 41 Finally, General Tipton 
wrote to Father Petit January 25, 1839: "With this I have the honor 
to enclose for your information a copy of my letter of 29 to the 
Bureau of Indian Affairs. And in reply to your letter on that subject 
I have to inform you that $300 of the civilization fund has been trans- 
mitted to the Rev. Bishop Brute and steps have been taken here to 
comply with my promises to you and to our Potawatomi friends for 
erecting a house for your residence, a chapel and twelve cabins in lieu 
of those burnt by the whites on Yellow River." 42 

39 ' 

'Petit^to Tipton, November 26, 1838. Potawatomi files. (H). Petit in his 
letter to Tipton makes bold to remark: "Operations when left to themselves go on 
very slow in the Department of Indian Affairs." 

Tipton to Crawford, December 29, 1838. (H). 


Bishop Brute had recommended to the Bureau that the allowance 
for the Potawatomi Mission be paid through Bishop Rosati of St. Louis 
as the ecclesiastical head of the district in which the mission was lo- 
cated. In the event it was paid to Father Verhaegen as superior of the 
missionaries. The father in a letter of December 15, 1839, to Com- 
missioner Crawford, acknowledging a payment in favor of the Kickapoo 
Mission, added: 

I need not tell you, Honorable Sir, that the Potawatomi who resided in 
Indiana within the diocese of the late Bishop Brute, have recently removed 
to the diocese of St. Louis. This is a fact with which you are acquainted. But 
I doubt whether you have been officially informed that said Indians are now 
entrusted to my spiritual care as Superior of the Missionary Catholic Associa- 
tion and that the Rev. H. G. Aelen, a member of the association, is now 
stationed among them, having succeeded the late Mr. Petit. With the removal 
of this band of the Potawatomi tribe, I conceive the allowance made in their 
behalf while in Indiana to have been transferred to our Association. If I 
mistake not, the grant made for the pension of the clergyman residing among 
them commenced in favor of our Association on the ist of February, 1839. 
It is immaterial whether the money which has become due since that date 
be paid to the Rev. Mr. Aelen or to me, though I deem it more expedient 
that I should be the only agent acknowledged by the Department in the 
transaction of business with those Indians. ... I understand from the Rev. 
Mr. Aelen that the Potawatomi among whom he resides are very desirous 
of having a school for the instruction of their children and that everything 
required for this jmrpose can be procured in a short time. I am very willing 
to contribute towards the formation of the school, but I can neither com- 
mence nor conduct it without the aid of the Department. Can I rely on 
some assistance? 4S 

The Indian Bureau redeemed its pledges. On arriving in St. Louis 
from Sugar Creek in August, 1839, Father Hoecken had in his pos- 
session the letters addressed to Father Petit from Washington in which 
assurance was given of government aid towards building a church and 
"priest's house" on the Potawatomi reservation. He presented them 
to the superintendent of Indian affairs at St. Louis, Major Joshua 
Pilcher, from whom a few days subsequently he received two thousand 
dollars towards the erection of a church and other buildings. 44 

43 Verhaegen to Crawford, December 15, 1839. 

44 Verreydt wrote to Major Harvey, superintendent of Indian affairs, St. Louis, 
apropos of this appropriation: "Revd. Father Hoecken took charge of these Indians 
after Revd. B. Petit left this place. When he saw that the government did not 
comply with those promises at the appointed time, he addressed Major Pilcher, that 
time Superintendent of Indian Affairs, and gave him a copy of Gen. J. Tipton's 
letter, he consequently wrote and stated the whole matter to the government and 
shortly after $2200 were appropriated to defray the expenses of chapel, residence 


The Potawatomi church thus to be constructed at government ex- 
pense was the third the Indians put up since their coming to the West. 
The first, a structure forty by twenty feet, was built on the site of their 
first stopping-place on Pottawatomie Creek. 45 The second log church was 
constructed by the Indians in the space of three days at Sugar Creek 
immediately after they settled there in March, i839. 46 For the ac- 
commodation of the Potawatomi bands who arrived from Indiana 
towards the end of 1840, a third church was begun in the summer of 
that year, a neat and spacious structure situated on a bluff about a hun- 
dred feet above the level of the bottom land. Under the title of "The 
Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin" it was blessed by Father 
Aelen on Christmas Day, 1840. A contemporary account of the cere- 
mony is extant: 

At eleven o'clock of the night previous to the feast the discharge of a 
gun in the front of the new building was the signal for the beginning of the 
ceremony, which was responded to by a salute of three hundred guns fired 
from the doors of their respective lodges by as many Indian braves. Three 
hundred lights, borne by as many women, now approached the new Temple 
of God at the birth-hour of the world's Redeemer, and seemed to proclaim, 
through the pitchy darkness of that winter night, that this was the hour when 
light came to illuminate those who sat in darkness and in the shadow of death. 
At midnight, when the church-bell tolled, the Indians intoned a beautiful 
canticle in honor of the ever Virgin Mary, Mother of God. The blessing of 
the new church took place and afterwards the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass 
was offered up to the Most High amidst the sounds of music and harmonious 
singing, well-executed by our good Indians, of whom about two hundred 
received Holy Communion on the occasion and about five hundred assisted 
at High Mass and Solemn Vespers. In the course of the day a beautiful statue 
of the Immaculate Virgin was carried in procession by Indian virgins all over 
the settlement, as a token of the particular devotion of the people of Sugar 
Creek to the Mother of God. The greatest regularity marked the conduct of 
the hundreds who accompanied the procession. At night all retired to their 
bark lodges with joy and satisfaction depicted on their countenances. 47 

and 1 2 cabins. After the money arrived, the Indians perceived that the chapel would 
not have been spacious enough, which they would have built with that amount of 
money, they agreed therefore to do rather without cabins than church, and appro- 
priated the whole amount $2200 to the church exclusively, made cabins for them- 
selves and a house for the Blackgown." (H). 

45 Sugar Creek Liber ParoMalis. (F). 

46 Idem. (F). 

*i Catholic Cabinet (St. Louis) 1:471. General conditions at the mission in 
1841 were pictured by Father Aelen in a letter to the Father General. The Pota- 
watomi received the sacraments every four or five weeks, and assisted daily at 
Mass. On the eve of the Assumption, August 15, Aelen heard confessions in Pota- 
watomi for eighteen hours, Holy Communions on the festival numbering two 
hundred and fifty. "Ex uno disce omnes, for here under the shadow of the cross 

1 s 


r 5s, v V J <> 

\\U 1 , ) ^ l 1 * <i 

^ jl -^ N-5 - J * v^ 

"^ / ^ X <*^ .t^ ' S J 


^ ! 1 -1 ' J 

\4 'i * v 5 

f\ ^ J x ?. <i 

. N T i ^ 

\ * 

I ^ , s \ J^ fc ^ 

N .A J V y^ 

J X 










^ v 

v< * t ^* * M. ' * 

V v * ^<i ' t ^ ^ 

>J ^i 4 ^ i 


i -) 



^ i S M 

NiJ J 

.i 4 \ 


B +s 


"" ^ 



' ' / 

Felix L. Verreydt, SJ,, superior of the Sugar Creek Mission, to Thomas H. Harvey, 
superintendent of Indian affairs at St. Louis, February 24, 1 847. Files of the Indian 
Office, Department of the Interior, Washington. 


Like its predecessors the third Potawatomi church was to prove 
too small for the number of worshippers. As early as April i, 1844, 
Father Verreydt set the Indians hewing and preparing timber for 
a fourth church, for which a new and eligible site had been selected. 
In August of the following year the Indians were still engaged with 
preparations for the new structure, some digging for the foundations, 
others getting rock and hauling materials. 48 The fourth Potawatomi 
church was still unfinished at the time the Indians left Sugar Creek 
for the Kaw River. Oddly enough, the fathers were unable to obtain 
compensation for the improvements they had made at Sugar Creek. 
In September, 1 847, they were officially informed that in the payment 
for the Potawatomi reserve, "no compensation can be allowed for the 
Catholic church and priest's residence and improvements," the reason 
assigned being "that no mention was made of them in the Secretary's 
report when the land was sold by the Indians." Advised to negotiate 
privately with the Indians for reimbursement of their losses, they 
did so, and successfully, to the great credit of the natives. The Indians, 
moreover, in October, 1847, generously set aside out of the annuities 
they had just received seventeen hundred dollars for the erection of a 
new church and presbytery on the Kaw River reserve. 49 

similar prodigies of fervor are being manifested by the faithful nearly all the 
year round." Father Aelen was of opinion, however, that the system under which 
the missions were being operated, i.e. with immediate dependence on the vice- 
provincial and his consultors in St. Louis, was defective, inasmuch as the latter had 
no knowledge of Indian ways, language and other circumstances of the mission. 
The missions east as those west of the Rockies should have a separate superior and 
consultors, a central seminary for the children of the various tribes and a special 
fund, say "of 8000 French francs." Aelen also wrote that a serious mistake had 
been made in recalling from the Kickapoo "that immortal pattern of missionaries, 
Father Van Quickenborne." "It was done for the sake of a young Father [Christian 
Hoecken], who even now is judged by all to be unfit -for the Indian missions." 
Aelen ad Roothaan, August 22, 1841. (AA). This opinion of Hoecken is mani- 
festly not the one which prevailed at a later period when he was generally regarded 
as the most successful of all the Potawatomi missionaries. However, Hoecken, when 
among the Kickapoo, had shown traits which did not augur well for his future 
success as a missionary. 

48 Sugar Creek Liber Parochialis. (F). 

49 Verreydt wrote February 24, 1847 to Major Harvey, St. Louis: "Our 
Indians, Sir, are determined to move to their new homes this Spring; this year 
they want to make their crops at the Kansas River. Of course they are anxiously 
desirous not only to get speedily the means necessary for emigrating; but also to 
see their future homes . . . they as a people living in community and much more 
as Christians, need a community establishment, I mean a church for worship, with 
dwelling-houses for their pastors and tutors. This they know and asked for; this 
the officers of the government knew at the close of the treaty. It was only upon 
promise of the establishment of a church the Indians agreed to the treaty; and it 
was likewise therefore (as you with me and all our Indians must recollect) that 



The Catholic Indian school for boys opened at Sugar Creek July 
7 3 1 840, was the third of its kind established by the St. Louis Jesuits. 
It was destined to reap a larger measure of success than the two that 
had preceded it, St. Regis Seminary at Florissant and the Kickapoo 
mission school. The Florissant institution was suspended in 1832, the 
Kickapoo, in 1839. I* 1 t ^e establishment of Indian schools the Catholics 
found themselves anticipated on all hands by the Protestant denomina- 
tions. Of fifty-two Indian schools in the United States in 1836, nearly 
all being under denominational control, only three were Catholic. In the 
Indian country particularly, Protestant mission-stations and schools had 
sprung up with rapidity. Prior to the advent of the Jesuits to Sugar 
Creek at least seventeen Protestant missions, most of them supporting 
schools, had been started west of the Missouri state-line. The Osage 
river sub-agency was especially well provided with these centers of 
non-Catholic missionary effort. It counted two schools among the Pota- 
watomi, one of them Baptist and the other Methodist 5 one, Methodist, 
among the Peoria and Kaskaskia, and one, Baptist, among the Ottawa. 
These, however, had all been discontinued by 1842 and Colonel Davis 
in his report for that year notes that the Sugar Creek school was the only 

the Commissioners so willingly consented to make this promise etc." Father Verreydt 
added that the improvements of the Indians had been appraised the preceding 
week by the sub-agent J. Bourassa, and J. Jones, but not those of the fathers or 
the nuns. However, for labor expended in the construction of the mission buildings 
and the making of rails, the Indians were allowed five hundred dollars and this 
sum they had agreed to turn over to the missionaries "in consideration of the bene- 
fits derived to them from our mission and of the many expenses we shall be 
obliged to incur in moving etc." Major Harvey in forwarding Verreydt's petition 
to Commissioner Medill commented: "You will observe that he asks for the erection 
of a church for the Potawatomis on the Kansas as promised by the Commissioners 
at the treaty; I am not able to say whether the promises thus made and referred to 
by Mr. V. are on the Journal or not. Col. Matlock, who acted as clerk, thinks they 
are. The promises that he speaks of were made and were deemed necessary by the 
Commissioners to ensure the adoption of the treaty by the Indians on the Osage. 
The Catholic Church numbers from ten to twelve hundred members on the Osage, 
very few belong to any other church. The Revd. Gentleman has so [ms.?] and 
forcibly urged the necessity of building a church that it is scarcely necessary for 
me to add anything. I would however say that I consider it exceedingly important 
that a church should be built as early as practicable. Judging from the manner in 
which the church spoken of by Mr. V. in his postscript was built, if the building 
could be entrusted to the Missionaries it would be better and more economically 
done." Harvey to Medill, September 27, 184.7, (H). It does not appear that 
government appropriated money for a church on the Kansas River unless such 
appropriation was included in the five thousand dollars granted St. Mary's in 1849 
for buildings on the new mission site. 


Indian school then in operation in his agency. 50 But in 1 847 the Baptists 
were again in the field, conducting three separate schools among the 
Ottawa, Wea, and Potawatomi respectively. The accounts given o 
non-Catholic schools in the Indian Territory by agents and superin- 
tendents are in general commendatory. Major Thomas H. Harvey, 
superintendent of Indian affairs, St. Louis, said in his annual report 
for 1844: 

I conceive that the missionary or teacher of the Christian religion is an 
indispensable agent in the civilization of the Indians. No one who is not 
steeled in prejudice can travel through the Indian country 'where they have 
missionaries without observing their beneficial influence. I take pleasure in 
stating that I have not visited a single missionary in this superintendency 
whom I did not look upon as exemplary in his deportment and highly benefi- 
cial to the Indians; many of them have schools under their charge which 
promise to do much good. 51 

Working hand in hand with the Jesuits for the spiritual and ma- 
terial uplift of the Potawatomi was the Society of the Sacred Heart. 
That congregation of religious women had been associated with the 
Missouri Jesuits in their earliest efforts for the Christian education 
of the Indians. As counterpart to St. Regis Seminary, the Jesuit school 
for Indian boys at Florissant, there was Mother Duchesne's school for 
Indian girls. Both institutions were suspended in 1832, having reaped 
only a meagre measure of success. Within a decade both Jesuits and 
Religious of the Sacred Heart were to take up again in cooperation the 
education of Indian youth, this time on the borders of Sugar Creek. 

The story of Father Petit and his Potawatomi flock thrilled the 
soul of Mother Duchesne as she heard it from the lips of Father 
Hoecken himself on his return to Florissant from the Indian country 
to recover his broken health. She conceived at once the idea of a house 
of her society among the Potawatomi, who seemed predestined to enjoy 
all the blessings of the Faith, and appealed to Bishop Rosati of St. 
Louis, then visiting in France, to intercede with the Mother General, 
St. Madeleine Sophie Barat, in favor of such a venture. On Epiphany 
day, January 6, 1841, Father De Smet, but a few months back from 
his first trip to the Rocky Mountains, in the course of a conversation 
with Mother Duchesne advised her to present a formal application on 
the subject to her superior. To Mother Galitzin, then discharging the 
duties of Visitatrix to the American houses of her society, the missionary 
had already said: "Believe me, you will never succeed in this country 
till you draw down on your work the blessing of God by founding an 
establishment amongst the Indians." "That is exactly our Mother 

50 RC1A, 1836, 1842. McCoy, Register, 1838. 

51 RC1A, 1844. 


GeneraPs greatest wish/ 3 the Visitatrix replied 3 "but we have neither 
subjects nor money." "Still, you must do it," De Smet insisted, and they 
both undertook to pray for the realization of the plan. "Yesterday, 
the feast of the Three Kings," Mother Duchesne made known to 
Mother Galitzin, "the visit of the Father who has just returned from 
the Rocky Mountains has reawakened to such a degree my desires and 
my zeal that they seem to give me new life, and I have every hope of 
joining the mission which offers itself at this moment under such favor- 
able circumstances." And she added: "The missionary [De Smet] whom 
I saw yesterday tells us of many things which will facilitate this 
establishment, the neighborhood of several small settlements and the 
security of the place, which is protected from all invasion. He says it is 
a positive duty for us to take possession of the place before it is occupied 
by Presbyterians or Methodists. I showed him Mgr. Rosati's letter, 
so like an inspiration, in which he says, 'Follow that call.' I now think 
that it was the voice of God speaking, especially as the desire so often 
expressed by our Mother General concurs with it and I hope that God 
will permit that you carry it out." 52 

A fortnight later De Smet was en route to the South to collect funds 
for his Rocky Mountain mission and incidentally to urge upon Mother 
Galitzin the necessity of acting promptly in the matter of the Pota- 
watomi girls' school. In the letter which he bore to the Visitatrix from 
Mother Duchesne, the latter wrote: "The Father who is the bearer 
of this letter is the one at the head of the great mission in the Moun- 
tains. I hope he will strongly support my petition. . . . Subjects will 
be easily found. I hope God will permit that I be chosen. ... If we 
had only four hundred dollars to begin with, we could go in the 
spring." 53 

Shortly after his return to St. Louis from a begging-trip to the 
South De Smet received a communication from Mother Galitzin, writ- 
ten from St. Michel in Louisiana: 

After taking due counsel with the Lord and considering over and over 
again all the interests of the Province, and after weighing the last letter of 
our Reverend Mother General, which gives me a little opening and enables 

52 Baunard, Life of Mother Euchesne (tr. by Fullerton), p. 360. Verhaegcn 
wanted to see the school well conducted from the start for he built great hopes on it 
as he informed Bishop Rosati: "It seems certain that all the nations would send their 
children there and that in a short time there would be from 100 to 150 children. 
These children, solidly instructed in the principles of our holy religion and 
accustomed to practice its duties would spread the faith more eEcaciously perhaps 
than a large number of missionaries. We shall speak of this enterprise upon your 
return and shall try to find means to begin it and to make it prosper." Verhaegen 
a Rosati, December 10, 1840. (C). 

53 Baunard-Fullerton, of. /., pp. 360, 361, 


me to conceive a ray of hope for this mission among the Indians, this is what 
I think; I will make the sacrifice of M [other] Bajin, formerly Superior at 
Grand Coteau, whom I wished to take for the foundation of New York; 
I will give up Mother Lucille, whom I was anxious to give to one of the 
three houses which are begging for her; they have done without her up to 
this time, they will continue to do without her; in addition to these two I 
will give Mother Duchesne. If Father Verhaegen approves my plan, the 
foundation will be made with these three subjects; I can do no more. As to 
money, I haven't a copper. I leave here for New York with no more money 
than is absolutely necessary for the journey. Our two houses of Louisiana 
are drained after relieving the needs of the Province and meeting the expenses 
of buildings now in course of erection. If you could interest the Ursuline 
Ladies in our favor, they might perhaps make a little contribution to this 
good work. We shall see whether it will be possible to raise a little at St. Louis 
by subscription. If the good God wishes this foundation, he will level all 
obstacles in order to finance it; if he does not wish it, who shall resist him? 
I am waiting for the boat to leave this evening for St. Louis. I cannot accord- 
ingly receive your answer here, but I hope to see you in St. Louis and acquaint 
you with final decisions and arrangements. 54 

A fund of five hundred dollars having been collected by De Smet 
for the proposed mission, Mother Galitzin finally decided to put her 
hand to the venture. A party of three nuns was told off without delay 
for service at Sugar Creek. Mother Lucille Mathevon, who presided 
over the St. Charles convent, all eagerness for the conversion of the 
Indian, was named superior. She was to have for helpers Mother 
O'Connor, who had served an apprenticeship in the training of Indian 
children at Florissant, and the lay sister, Louise Amyot, of Canadian 
birth. Edmund, a trusty and resourceful Negro, was to lend his services 
to the party. As to Mother Duchesne, it was doubtful up to the last 
moment whether her health would permit her to undertake the journey. 
She was seventy-two years of age, enfeebled with infirmities and seem- 
ingly at no great distance from the grave. Under the circumstances 
her departure for the mission appeared an obvious folly. But she was 
eager to go, while Father Verhaegen, who in company with Father 
Smedts was to conduct the group to its destination, wished her to be 
included among the personnel. "If she cannot work," he said, "she will 
forward the success of the mission by her prayers.* 3 The father's 
wish proved decisive and Mother Duchesne was one of the four Re- 
ligious of the Sacred Heart that left St. Louis for the Indian country 
on board a Missouri river steamer, SS. Peter and PauPs day, June 

M Galitzin a De Smet, March 10, 1841. (A). 
55 Baunard-Fullerton, of. cit., p. 363. 


An incident of the voyage up the Missouri is recorded by Mother 
Mathevon in her journal. "On the 4th of July, the festival of Inde- 
pendence, Father Verhaegen preached to the passengers. When the 
sermon was ended great applause ensued, with clapping of hands and 
stamping of feet. Then everybody, ourselves included, drank iced 
sherry. We are all very well. Mother Duchesne walks up and down 
the deck as if she were young again." Six days after its departure from 
St. Louis the steamer put in at Westport Landing, now Kansas City, 
and the missionary party proceeded in wagons along the Fort Scott 
military road to Sugar Creek, distant some seventy-five miles to the 
south-west 56 

It was rough travel at the best and Mother Duchesne, jostled about 
with the other passengers over the uneven road-bed, suffered keenly. 
Having put up at the house of a French trader on the banks of the 
Osage about eighteen miles from their journey's end, they were met 
there by two Potawatomi who, coming up to Father Verhaegen, fell 
on their knees before him and begged his blessing. Then they told 
how on the evening before all the tribesmen had come together to 
await till nightfall the arrival of the women of the Great Spirit only 
to meet with disappointment. "Go and tell them," was Verhaegen's 
answer, "that tomorrow by the first light of the sun we shall be with 
them." 57 

The next morning the party was again in motion. At every few 
miles were posted Indians to show the way. Of a sudden, as the 
travellers turned into a great stretch of prairie-land, there appeared a 
band of some hundred and fifty Indians, mounted on horseback and 
decked out in feathers and all the finery of Indian attire. At their head 
rode Father Aelen, the superior of Sugar Creek, and his assistant, 
Father Eysvogels. With this impressive escort the visitors had now 
to proceed on their way while the Indians performed their best dances 
and rent the air with volleys of musketry. The procession halted in 
front of the Jesuit residence. What followed Mother Mathevon relates 
in her journal: 

There the four religious and the five Jesuit Fathers were invited to alight 
and take seats on some benches, the savages standing in four lines on each 
side of them. Father Verhaegen began by presenting to them Madame 
Duchesne. "My children," he said, "here is a lady who for thirty-five years 
has been asking God to let her come to you." Upon this the Chief of the 
tribe addressed us a compliment. His wife then did the same with these 

68 Idem, p. 364. 

57 Idem y p. 365. The trading-post referred to in the text was very probably the 
one established in 1834 by Giraud and Chouteau at the crossing of the upper 
Osage (Marais des Cygnes) and the Fort Scott-Fort Leavenworth military road. 


words: "To show you our joy, all the women of our tribe, married and 
unmarried, will now embrace you." Then speeches were translated by an 
interpreter called Bourassa, son of a French father and an Indian mother. 
The nuns went bravely through the ceremony, and then had to shake hands 
with all the men, who, with their chief at their head, marched before them. 
Even one old man, quite blind, insisted on giving the newcomers this greet- 
ing. These tokens of welcome were repeated seven hundred times. Mother 
Duchesne in spite of excessive fatigue gladly went through it all. 58 

Pending the construction of a house, the nuns took up their resi- 
dence in an Indian cabin, the owner of which withdrew with his family 
to live in a tent. Despite the poor accommodations a school for 
Indian girls was opened on July 15, 1841. The school house as well as 
residence for the nuns, planned and built for them before the end of 
August by their devoted Negro servant, Edmund, stood close to the 
mission-church on a bluff or eminence that commanded a view of the 
surrounding country. The charity shown the Jesuits by the Religious 
of the Sacred Heart in the pioneer days at St. Ferdinand's was now 
reciprocated, Father Aelen giving them two cows, a horse and a pair 
of oxen. 

Fifty girls were soon in attendance at the school while the Indian 
mothers themselves frequented it to learn the secrets of housekeeping. 
At the end of two weeks, the nuns, as fruit of the instruction they had 
received from two of the Indians, were able to sing some hymns in 
Potawatomi. "As soon as we could," records Mother Mathevon, "we 
taught our Indians the prayers of the church, and especially the Litany 
of the Blessed Virgin, as it is sung on Sundays after Vespers. Soon our 
cabin could not hold all our scholars and we made a large room with 
green branches. Our children are very intelligent and understand 
easily all we teach them. They are as handy as possible with their 

In the immediate conduct of the school Mother Duchesne could 
be of little service. The difficulties of Potawatomi staggered her and 
she gave up all hope of mastering it. To one ministry alone was she 
fully equal, that of prayer and good example. "The woman who prays 
always," was the name the Indians soon invented for her. Though the 
stimulus of the first days at Sugar Creek and the realization of her long- 
cherished dream had resulted in a momentary improvement of her 
health, the unusually severe winter of 1841-1842 reduced her visibly. 
"She is much aged and often very ill," wrote Mother Mathevon in Feb- 
ruary, 1842. "The life here is too hard for a person of her advanced 
age." In this condition of shattered health she was found by Mother 

88 Idem, p. 366. 


Galitzin, the Visitatrix, on her arrival at Sugar Creek on March 19, 
1 842, as also by Bishop Kenrick of St. Louis when he administered con- 
firmation at the mission in June of the same year. Both agreed that to 
allow her to remain longer at the mission would only hasten her death. 
Instructions were finally given Mother Duchesne to leave Sugar Creek 
and repair to St. Charles in Missouri. This she did on July 19, 1842, 
being accompanied on her return journey by Father Verhaegen, who 
had escorted her to Sugar Creek but a year before and who was destined 
to know her still more intimately in St. Charles and to minister to her 
in her last moments. 50 


The progress of the boys' and girls' schools at Sugar Creek is re- 
corded in the annual reports, beginning with 1 842, submitted by Father 
Verreydt to the Indian Bureau. The boys 3 school was opened July 7, 
1840, the girls, July 15 (17?), 1841. The expenses of the mission were 
estimated by Verreydt at about eighteen hundred dollars per annum. 
This sum included the living expenses of the three priests and three lay 
brothers and the money spent on medicines for the Indians, two hun- 
dred dollars annually. Father Hoecken, who had some knowledge of 
medicine, discharged the duties of doctor to the tribe. The expenses 
of the girls 5 school, including the support of the three nuns in charge, 
amounted to about six hundred dollars annually. 00 

Father Verreydt's second report is dated from "Sugar Creek Catho- 
lic Mission," September 30, 1 843 : 

59 Idem, p. 372. For a remarkable letter of Mother Duchesne on her desire 
for the Indian missions, cf. Marjory Erskine, Mother Philippine Duchesne y New 
York, 1926, pp. 346-353. An excellent account of the activities of the Religious 
of the Sacred Heart at Sugar Creek may be found in Louise Callan, R.S.C.J., The 
Society of the Sacred Heart in North America, New York, 1937. 

60 RCIA, 1842. Verreydt's report, Sept. i843-Sept. 18, 1844, lists the following 
as a portion of the work done by the girls: embroidered pieces, 12; stockings, 325 
hdfs. hemmed, 1395 dresses made, 160; coats made, 4; pantaloons, 3; shirts, 60; 
aprons, 945 samplers worked, 3. The Indian girls were especially skilful at em- 
broidery, their fondness for it being turned to good account by their Catholic 
teachers, as the Rev. N. Sayres Harris, inspector in 1844 f Episcopalian mission- 
schools in the Indian country, observed: "At one of the Roman Catholic Schools 
I afterwards learned the fondness of the Indians for embroidery is cultivated with 
success; by this one interest, so to speak, they may be led on to perfection. In 
some instances we have felt pained by a well-meant but most unwise crushing and 
quenching of Indian tendencies. Better to train and direct and make use of them 
for good." N. Sayres Harris, Journal of a Tour In the "Indian Territory" (New 
York, 1 844), p. 24. 


I have the pleasure to state that there is this year a decided improvement; 
although both schools are under my superintendence, yet they are differently 
conducted. I have secured the services of Messrs. Thomas Watkins and John 
Tipton as school-masters; the former teaches the English language and the 
accessory branches in the forenoon, and the latter the English and the Pota- 
watomi languages conjointly in the afternoon, both belonging to the nation 
and very popular. They are also well calculated to impart instruction with 
greater facility on account of their knowledge of both languages. The boys' 
school numbers 61 scholars, of whom forty-five attend regularly, if you 
except a short period early last spring when they accompanied their parents 
to the sugar camps. They are daily instructed in reading, writing, arithmetic 
and geography. 

The female academy is conducted by five Ladies of the Sacred Heart (a 
religious community), who devote all their attention to the moral and mental 
improvement of sixty-one pupils, forty of whom may be called regular. 
Besides spelling, reading, writing and ciphering, they have taught their 
scholars carding, spinning, sewing, knitting, marking, embroidering and even 
some of the accomplishments which are only taught in some of the most 
fashionable boarding-schools in the States; such as fancy-work and artificial 
flower making, although the more important and more useful objects relating 
to domestic economy have not been neglected on that account. The girls 
have been instructed how to cut and make every article of dress and apparel; 
to bake good bread, make butter and do every kind of housework, as the 
circumstances may require. Six pupils are boarded by the institution. 61 

I am of opinion that this nation would be greatly benefited if some of 
the older boys attending the school could be instructed in some of the me- 
chanical arts. This, however, our means do not allow us to begin at present. 
We have also been- prevented from setting the looms in operation in the 
female academy for want of necessary buildings. I would respectfully solicit 

61 RCIAy 184.3. Thomas Watkins is very probably to be identified with the 
individual of the same name who taught school in Chicago in the early thirties 
and was later chief clerk in the Chicago post-office under J. S. C. Hogan, first post- 
master of the village. Watkins's marriage to a daughter of the Potawatomi chief, 
Joseph Lafromboise, was a social event of the first importance according to the 
Hon. John Wentworth, Chicago mayor, who participated in the festivities. Watkins's 
Indian wife was afterwards divorced from him, marrying Menard Beaubien, son 
of Jean Baptiste Beaubien of Chicago and later a resident of Silver Creek, Kansas. 
A letter of Thomas Watkins in explanation of an incident that occurred on a Lake 
Michigan steamer appeared in the St. Louis Shepherd of the Valley, November 15, 
1834. Cf. Garraghan, The Catholic Church in Chicago, 1673-1871, p. 83. 

A supplementary school-report from Verreydt for the year ending September 
30, 1843, furnishes additional data. The school was under the management of 
the "Catholic Board of Missions of the St. Louis University, Mo." Two Indian 
boys were boarded in the missionaries' house. School-hours ran from 9 to 12 A.M. 
and from 2 to 4.30 P.M. The boys and girls in regular attendance were sixty- 
one for each group. Many of the children refusing to study English were 
instructed in their own language. The nearest post-office was Westport, Jackson 
County, Missouri. (H). 


the attention of the department on these two subjects; and when it is con- 
sidered that the allowance made by government last year did not exceed 
$300, and that the aggregate number of children educated in both schools 
amounts to 122, I trust you will come to the conclusion that the same appro- 
priation is inadequate to our wants. 

The three hundred dollars annually appropriated by government 
to the Sugar Creek Mission was a pittance with which the fathers could 
scarcely be expected to remain content. Even this small sum was not 
always paid promptly. "I find it rather strange," wrote Father Van 
de Velde to Major Harvey, superintendent of Indian affairs, St. Louis, 
"that every year since I have been in office I should have been put to 
the trouble of calling for the paltry sum ($300) which hitherto seems 
to have been paid with a kind of reluctance." 62 A manual labor school 
for the boys and a boarding-school for the girls were outside the range 
of possibility so long as further aid from the government was denied. 
Father Verreydt's report for 1844 dwells upon the need of a larger 

The looms provided by the government have not yet been put in opera- 
tion. On examination, they are all, with the exception of one, found to be 
incomplete; a number of pieces are wanting to each one. The cotton and 
wool to manufacture are also wanting. These reasons and the one assigned in 
my last report, viz: the want of means to put up the necessary building, is 
the cause that the Ladies have not been able to teach their scholars to weave. 

These ladies have now been three years in the Indian country, devoting 
their whole attention to the instruction of Indian children, and have never 
received any aid from the general government. Their expenses cannot be less 
than from $700 to $800 annually. This is a great expense, and I really think 
that the department should take their case into consideration and allow them 
something annually to defray it. ... 

We are about removing our church to a more eligible situation and also 
to make an addition to it, as it is entirely too small for our congregation. All 
the logs have been hewed and hauled by the Indians, who are very willing to 
do anything to assist us in this undertaking; but still the expense of nails, 
shingles, and the putting up and finishing of the building, falls upon us, and 
will be heavy indeed, unless the department should render us some assistance. 
When is taken into consideration the great good that has been done and 
may still be done by the civilization of these Indians, I do not think that our 
appeal will be considered improper. Missionaries of any denomination in the 
Indian country receive aid either from their own societies or from the 
general government; it is not so with us. Our society is totally unable to 
render us any further assistance than to send us, at times, provisions; and, 
as to aid from the department, we never have received anything but what 

62 Van de Velde to Harvey, January 8, 184.6. (H). 


was immediately paid to the teachers of the school at this mission. I hope 
that the department will consider this subject, and render us that assistance 
which is denied from all other quarters. 63 

Major Harvey, head of the western superintendence in his report 
of October 8, 1 844, to the commissioner of Indian affairs spoke approv- 
ingly of the mission schools: 

The Catholics have male and female schools attached to their missions at 
Sugar Creek, among the Pottawatomies, under the care of the Rev. Mr. Ver- 
reydt. The female school is conducted by five ladies of the society of the 
"Sacred Heart"; they have under instruction between sixty and seventy girls. 
The progress of the girls is exceedingly flattering; they are taught the useful 
branches of female education; at the same time fashionable accomplishments 
are not neglected. A number of girls are supported and brought up in the 
family of the ladies. This school is supported entirely by the ladies and their 
friends. It is to be regretted that they have not the means to enable them to 
enlarge their operations; they are extremely anxious to have house room 
enough to enable them to put up looms. Too much praise cannot be given to 
these accomplished ladies, for the sacrifices they have made in alienating 
themselves from society to ameliorate the condition of the Indians. The num- 
ber of boys taught is about sixty; they are said to succeed well. 64 

In February, 1845, Major Harvey again brought the needs of the 
girls' school at Sugar Creek to the attention of the Indian Bureau. 
He wrote to Commissioner Crawford: 

63 RCIA, 1844. 

64 Idem. Harvey had previously written to Crawford, commissioner of Indian 
affairs, about the girls' school: "I visited today the female school under the charge 
of five Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The weather had been extremely wet 
for sometime and as the scholars are with a few exceptions day scholars, that is, 
board with their parents, they are not as attentive as it is desirable they should be. 
Notwithstanding the unfavorableness of the day I think I counted thirty-nine 
present. I examined a considerable quantity of their needlework both fancy and 
for practical purposes, all of which would have been creditable to girls of their 
age in any society. The shirts, vests, stockings and spinning was well done, their 
fancy needlework was very pretty. Their recitations were highly creditable, their 
singing was very fine, nearly the whole school joining. Their singing was in four 
languages, the native, English, French and Latin. 

"It is much to be regretted that these ladies cannot carry on their works of char- 
ity on a more extended scale. It is only necessary to see them and their school to be 
convinced of their zeal and the happy effect which, they are producing among the 
Indians at Sugar Creek. The single fact of teaching the girls to make the common 
articles of clothing will do much in civilizing the Indians. Induce the Indians to 
throw off the blanket, the leggings and breech cloth and his civilization is half 
effected. I will enclose an address from a little full blood Indian girl about twelve 
years old delivered to me on visiting their school which very clearly sets forth 
their necessitous condition. Can the Government give them no aid?" Harvey to 
Crawford, May 29, 1844. (H). 


I regret to see from your report that the Indians of this superintendency 
are so much behind other Indians in moral and intelligent improvement. Is it 
not to be mainly attributed to the want of well regulated schools and missions 
among them? I observe from the report that nearly 9000 dollars of the Pota- 
watomi funds were expended at the Chocktaw Academy last year, while the 
Sisters of the Sacred Heart, who are conducting a large school for the Pota- 
watomi at Sugar Creek, cannot receive one dollar. 65 It is with deep regret 
that I learn that this school will be discontinued. I consider the discontinuance 
of the School at Sugar Creek as a most calamitous circumstance to those 
Indians. The female school, which is under the immediate charge of four or 
five accomplished ladies of the "Sacred Heart of Jesus," is a most valuable 
institution and is no doubt calculated to exercise a most beneficial influence 
upon the Indian character. 66 

65 The CKocktaw Academy near Sulphur Springs, Kentucky, was under the 
management of Col. R. M. Johnson. The Indian Office made efforts to have boys 
sent to it from the various agencies, but apparently without success, at least as far 
as the Catholic Indians were concerned. Cooper, the sub-agent at Council Bluffs, 
complained in 184.0 to Maj. Pilcher that the Potawatomi parents refused to send 
their children to the Academy, "being all Roman Catholics and determined abso- 
lutely not to patronize anything that is not of that persuasion." (Supra, Chap. XIII, 
note 27.) Major Harvey's testimony in this connection is significant. "I find the 
Indians every where are very much opposed to sending their children out of the 
nation to school." Harvey to Crawford, May 29, 1844. (H). The government 
policy of sending Indian children away from their tribes to be educated is severely 
arraigned by N. Sayres Harris, secretary of the board of missions of the Episcopalian 
Church. "It is not a little mortifying that a gentleman of Col. Johnson's standing 
and aspirations should have permitted himself for so long a time to stand in the 
way of the Indian's desire to have his children educated among themselves. I could 
but blush for him at hearing the remarks of some intelligent Indians upon himself 
and his institution and for the Government that could barter the best interests 
of its unfortunate wards for a mess of political pottage." Harris, of. cti^ p. 20. 
The money provided for the education of Potawatomi children ($5000 for the 
Osage River bands and $3,825 for those of Council Bluffs) was all expended at 
the Chocktaw Academy. When it is considered that the Potawatomi refused on 
reasonable grounds to patronize the aforesaid institution, the justice of Major 
Harvey's appeal in favor of the nuns' school becomes obvious. Father Vcrreydt in 
his Memoirs (A) describes some of the methods employed to recruit boys for the 
Kentucky Indian school. A bonus, apparently as high as two or three hundred 
dollars, was offered anyone who succeeded in obtaining a certain number of 
boys for the school. A young man of Westport, who had often visited Sugar Creek, 
showing himself on these occasions friendly to the missionaries, made an attempt 
to secure the bonus. He appeared in the village and began to plead with the 
Indian parents to entrust their sons to Mr. Johnson's care. But all to no purpose. 
"They had their school and were satisfied. They were right for they knew that 
some young Indians who had been educated there did not return home, except 
one or two, who were naturally good fellows, with any religious education; 
besides, the trade some had learned profited them nothing. The Pottawatomies 
were determined not to send any of their children." 

60 Harvey to Crawford, February 24, 1845. (H). 


The major's appeal was successful. In June, 1845, the nuns were 
advised that the Indian Bureau had decided to grant them an annual 
appropriation o five hundred dollars, payable from July i. Delay on 
the part of the Bureau in making the promised payment elicited a pro- 
test from Major Harvey to Commissioner of Indian Affairs Medill: 

The late commissioner, Mr. Crawford, on the I5th May last, advised 
this office that the sum of $500 per annum would be allowed the female 
school among the Potawatomi in the Osage River Sub-Agency from and 
after the ist of July last. It is presumed from the allotments received under 
cover of your letter of the 3rd inst. that it has been overlooked. I presume 
it is only necessary to call your attention to the fact, but I would take occasion 
to remark that this school has been kept up for a number of years at the 
entire expense of the religious society under whose immediate management 
it is, "The Society of the Sacred Heart of Jesus." Five ladies who would be 
creditable to a school in any country devote their entire lives to the education 
of the females of this vicinity, boarding a number and teaching them all the 
useful arts of housewifery; their school numbers about 60 and occasionally 
upwards. The happy moral influence which they have exerted among the 
Indians cannot be mistaken by the most casual observer (I speak from fre- 
quent personal observation). The Society, as I understand from those who 
know, cannot longer bear the entire expense of the school. I would view the 
removal or discontinuance of the school as a serious calamity to the Pota- 
watomi in the Osage River sub-agency. I trust that I may be authorized to 
assure the ladies that the allowance will be continued. 67 

The allowance for the first year was paid to the nuns January n, 
184.6. With the help thus afforded them they were able to maintain 
the girls' school up to the dissolution of the Sugar Creek Mission. 68 

The Sugar Creek schools being annually subsidized by the govern- 
ment only to the extent of three hundred dollars for the boys' school 
and five hundred for the girls' (1846-1848) were unable unless in a 
few exceptional cases to receive the Indian children as boarders. But 
a boarding-school with a manual labor department for the boys was 
felt by the fathers to be necessary if the Indian youth were to receive 
the education that best suited their needs. "If we had the means," 
declared Father Verreydt in his report for 1 846, "of establishing at our 
mission a boarding-school, in which we could combine literary instruc- 
tions with the teaching of manual and mechanical arts, I feel confident 
that not only the greater number of those who are now the most 
irregular, but that many others, besides, would be constant in attending, 

67 Harvey to Medill, November 17, 1845. . 

* 8 Transferred to the new Potawatomi reserve on the Kaw River in 1848, the 
boys' and girls' schools continued their interesting career, Infra^ Chaps. XXVIII, 


and their progress would not fail to be far more considerable." 69 Ver- 
reydt's representation of his needs to the Indian officials met with con- 
sideration and before the final occupation by the Potawatomi of their 
new reserve on the Kaw River was carried out he had been authorized 
by Major Harvey to board and educate as many children of the tribe 
as he could accommodate, pending the opening with government sup- 
port of a Catholic manual labor school. 

While the civilizing process at Sugar Creek was exercised upon 
children and adults alike, the agencies employed in the process, apart 
from the direct influences of religion in both cases, were not identical. 
With the children the schools were the paramount f actor j with the 
adults, apart from education in industry and the practical arts, church 
services and parish organization were the outstanding influences. As 
regarded pious confraternities and public devotions the Sugar Creek 
parish could challenge comparison with the best organized congrega- 
tions of the whites. The Archconfraternity of the Most Pure Heart 
of Mary for the Conversion of Sinners was introduced in May, 1843, 
by Father Verreydt. 70 In November of the same year the Society of 
Jesus and Mary was first organized and soon included in its member- 
ship several hundred heads of families. Again, on June 14, 1844, was 
established the Association of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary. 

Toward the close of 1843 an eight-day mission, "according to the 
method of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius," as the contemporary 
record expresses it, was conducted for the Indians with abundant visible 
fruit. In April of the succeeding year a tridwum or three days' revival, 
was preached by Father Verreydt in English, as also, with the aid of an 
interpreter, in Potawatomi. The month of May was dedicated according 
to Catholic custom to the Mother of God and every day the Litany of 
Loretto was sung or recited in her honor. Christmas was celebrated 
with more than usual pomp. During the Christmas holidays of 1845 
Bishop Edward Barron, Vicar-apostolic of the Two Guianas, was a 
guest at the mission where he administered baptism to more than eighty 
Indians. That year a crib was set up in the church to bring the Savior's 
birth in concrete fashion before the eyes of the natives. The Potawatomi 
celebrated their tribal feast on Easter Sunday. Father Hoecken's diary 
for March, 1845, notes that some of the Indians had gone on a hunting 
expedition to secure game for the approaching national feast and that 
the fathers contributed flour and coffee. The guest of honor on the 
occasion was Colonel Vaughn, chief officer of the Osage River sub- 

"Novenas" or special public prayers continued through nine days 
were frequent. On May 18, 1847, one wa s begun in honor of St. Francis 

fl RCIA, 1846. 

70 Sugar Creek Liber Parochialis. (F), 


Hieronymo to secure God's blessing on the mission. Two weeks later 
came another novena, this one preparatory to the feast of Corpus 
Christi, with exposition of the Blessed Sacrament every day of the 
devotion. Religious processions were especially calculated to stimulate 
the piety of the Indians. Of such there were several in the course of 
the year. On St. Mark's day, April 25, there was a procession through 
the fields for the blessing of the crops. The feast of the Most Pure 
Heart of Mary, August 25, had its annual procession conducted with 
much pomp and ceremony. But the most elaborate of all these pious 
functions was that of Corpus Christi. In 1847 crowds flocked in from 
the neighboring reserves to take part in the procession. "They behaved 
with edifying devotion and the day was orderly throughout." Father 
Verheyden, who was attached to the Sugar Creek mission during the 
summer of 1843, l e & a graphic account of the Corpus Christi services of 
that year. 71 

71 Catholic Cabinet (St. Louis), i: 251. The visit of Bishop Kenrick to Sugar 
Creek in June, 1 842, was also a noteworthy occasion. An account of it was written 
by Father Hoecken to his parents in Holland: "The Bishop of St. Louis came here 
last month. People came from a distance of 15 miles to meet him. He was given 
a solemn reception. All were on horseback and nearly everybody had his lance 
trimmed with little flags. I went in surplice in front of the guard of honor of 80 
men. At my side went two acolytes also in surplice, one with the holy-water, the 
other with incense. When the Bishop came up, I put incense into the vessel and 
incensed him. Then the commander of the troops went up to the Bishop and after 
ordering his men to salute him, turned to the prelate and declared the great joy 
felt by his brethren at seeing him in their country. They then accompanied him 
to our village where all the men, women and children were assembled to receive 
him and give him the honor due to his high office. The Bishop stayed here for some 
days and administered Confirmation to some 300 of our Indians. At his departure 
they accompanied him a distance of more than 20 miles." In this same letter 
Hoecken asked his parents to send him four hundred dollars for a mill: "But they 
have no mills and this is the greatest reason for our poverty. We are obliged to 
buy all our provisions from the Americans, flour, bacon, maize, etc." This letter 
(original in French) dated July 2, 1842, was published in a Dutch periodical, Le 
GodsMenstvriend, 1842, pp. 316-321. Tr. by Fr. Martin M. Bronsgeest, SJ. 

A memorandum by Father Van de Velde in the files of the Indian Office dated 
St. Louis University, February 8, 1844, gives particulars of an alleged plot against 
the Sugar Creek Mission. 

"It appears that since the commencement of last summer (1843) a kind of 
secret conspiracy has been formed against our missionaries on Sugar Creek by five 
or six reckless persons who use all their exertions to excite the Indians, chiefly those 
of the St. Joseph's band on the Potawatomi Creek against the Missionaries and to 
destroy all the good these Missionaries have already done and still continue to do 
among the various tribes on or near Sugar Creek. 

"This conspiracy seems to have been set on foot by one Jude Bourassa, a half- 
breed, who, for publicly maintaining irreligious principles that necessarily lead to 
immorality, was reprehended at church by the missionaries (sometime in the spring 
of 1843) and cautioned against holding any further communication with the 


Idleness and a passion for strong drink were the Indians 7 typical 
vices. It especially became necessary to teach them the material and 
moral advantages of honest, persevering toil. With a view to mutual 
encouragement and support in manual labor, they organized themselves 
under the direction of the missionaries into working-guilds. In each 
guild an overseer assigned the tasks, gave all necessary directions to 
the workers, and also presided at certain prayers which were said in 
common. At the call of a bugle, the Indians, headed by the overseers, 
marched out to the fields, where they learned the age-old secrets of 
tilling the soil and, again preceded by the overseers, marched back to 
their homes when the day's work was done. 72 

Father Verreydt in his memoirs stresses the poor quality of the land 
around the mission: 

The selection was one of the worst places that could have been chosen. 
If they had gone some miles further west of Sugar Creek, they would have 
found a much better place for a settlement. But as the church was built at 
Sugar Creek, besides our house and that of the Ladies and the neatly con- 
structed log houses of the Indians, it was too late to make a new establish- 
ment. The deep bottom land of Sugar Creek was the only soil, with a few 
exceptions, fit to raise corn. There was scarcely any air stirring in that 
bottom. I saw an Indian working there almost naked so as to be able to 
continue his work. Corn is the only grain the Indians will raise and the 
prairie in general all around Sugar Creek was not rich enough to raise good 
corn. Said prairies have a light soil about two feet deep; not much deeper 

peaceful Indians, unless he should abandon those principles and retract what he 
had said. In consequence of this reprimand he conceived a deadly hatred against 
the Missionaries and used his utmost efforts to thwart and annoy them. The other 
Indians and his brother Jos. Bourassa blamed and avoided him. 

"During the course of last summer the former chief of the St. Joseph's Indians 
on Sugar Creek, called Gagodamua ChMs> who had been elected six years before, 
because the lawful chief Magie was then too young to command, was unanimously 
put out of office (the Indians having been long displeased with him on account of 
his arbitrary way of acting) and the rightful chief chosen to succeed him. Though 
this was done during the absence of the Missionaries and by the common consent 
of all the St. Joseph's Indians, still he suspected that the Missionaries had advised 
the latter to put him out of office and conceived a hatred both against them and 
against the Indians of his own nation. He left Sugar Creek and went to live in the 
neighborhood of Potawatomi Creek, where lie joined Jude Bourassa and with him 
began to plot against the Missionaries." 

Father Van de Velde also names as parties to the alleged plot M. Scott, Dr. J. 
Lykms, Wilson, the U. S. blacksmith to the Potawatomi, and A. Burnet (Abraham 
Burnett). Wilson he describes as "an upright and honest man," who became preju- 
diced against the missionaries on an unfounded suspicion that they had preferred 
complaints against him with the government on the ground that he had employed 
his own son as "striker" or assistant to him in violation of treaty-stipulations, 
Burnett is called by Van de Velde "the soul of the whole conspiracy," (H) . 

72 Sugar Creek Liber ParoMalis. (F). 


and all is rock. The Indians themselves acknowledged this. One of them 
remarked that if one put a knife in the ground, he might touch rock. There 
were a great many sugar maple trees skirting the Creek and hence it was 
called Sugar Creek. As the Indians are very fond of sugar, they bore the 
maple trees and thus tapping them let the juice of the tree run into a trough, 
pour the juice into a kettle and let it boil until it has the consistence of hard 
sugar ; then it is formed into cakes and may be thus kept for years. But as it 
is the best kind of sugar, it is soon consumed by the Indians and all their labor 
has been of little if any profit to them. If they had employed their time in 
more useful pursuits as in enlarging their little fields of corn or raising at 
least some wheat in some parts of their prairies or planting some potatoes in 
their bottom lands, etc., they would have been scarcely any poor people 
among them. Their thirty dollars per head which they received of the 
government for their annuities could not with their little industry support 
them. There was no game in their country and for them to go on a buffalo 
hunt to the Rocky Mountains was too dangerous an undertaking. They 
dreaded the scalping-knife of the wild Indians of those regions. To ameliorate 
their pitiful condition, F. C. Hoecken, who was heart and soul for the 
welfare of the Indians, gathered them into bands, consisting of about 30 
persons in each band. He selected a suitable place for each family where they 
might raise corn or potatoes, etc. These 30 Indians were to split rails and 
fence and plow the field for each family belonging to their band. It was 
truly a pleasant sight to see them at work. Their natural indolent nature 
was there truly exhibited. One would plow for a little while, staggering as 
if he were drunk. Having never had a plough in his hands, no wonder he 
was laughed at by the few who knew better. As soon as he gave out, another 
commenced and thus [as they worked] by turns, laughing and joking, the 
field was made ready for cultivation. They soon began to see the advantages 
of industry and some of them bye and bye raised an abundance of corn and 
their little cabins began to be neatly fixed and some of them erected fine 
log-houses. One of them in particular had become so industrious that he 
himself planed all the logs for his house which was erected as smooth as a 
brick wall. (A). 

But to instruct the Indians in farming was futile unless the most 
deadly of all their enemies, brandy, was kept at a safe distance. In 
1843 Father Verreydt organized a party of Indians under the leader- 
ship of Brother Van der Borght into an anti-liquor brigade. The mem- 
bers were instructed to keep watch that no liquor was brought into the 
village, and if any one was reported to have such in his possession, they 
were to go at once to his house, surround it, search for the prohibited 
article, break the bottles and spill the contents. The anti-liquor brigade 
was something more than a Potawatomi jest and not a few luckless In- 
dians found themselves summarily dispossessed of the contraband they 
had smuggled in. 78 Yet, as time went on, something more was needed 



to bar the entrance of "ardent spirits" into the settlement. In August, 
1844, the Indians drew up regulations dealing with the abuse, which 
were unanimously agreed to and embodied in writing. They further- 
more elected eleven constables to insure the observance of the new 
regulations. In July, 1845, they deliberated in council on the all-im- 
portant liquor question and a year later, July 22, 1846, they met again 
in council to devise more stringent measures against the evil. Agent 
Vaughn was invited to attend and at his suggestion it was determined 
that any one thereafter caught bringing liquor into the mission should 
be locked up in the guard-house at Fort Scott. In August of the same 
year still another council was held with the result that three laws 
directed against drunkenness, immorality and card-playing, (by which 
no doubt was meant gambling), were unanimously passed. These laws 
were committed to writing and duly promulgated. It was something 
more than a momentary reform-wave that now swept over Sugar 
Creek; before the year was out the Indians had their own jail for the 
due punishment of law-breakers. Finally, in July, 1847, the Indians 
of Pottawatomie Creek, the non-Catholic section of the tribe, came to 
Sugar Creek to hold common council with their fellow-tribesmen. It 
was decreed on this occasion that whosoever should bring intoxicating 
liquor into the reserve should forfeit for his first offense half his 
government annuity and for the second offense, the whole annuity. 
It was a drastic measure but a wise one and it met with the warm com- 
mendation of Agent Vaughn. "I said the Pottawatomies have been 
more than usually unsteady," he reported in September, 1 847, to Super- 
intendent Harvey; "drunkenness and its dire companion, murder, have 
prevailed to a greater extent this year than for years previous; even 
the hitherto exemplary Indians on Sugar Creek have not escaped the 
infection. I am, however, happy to state that a reaction is taking place. 
Some of the old and steady denizens of Sugar Creek have taken the 
matter in hand. They have called councils, invited the attendance of 
their brethren on Pottawatomie Creek and mutually have pledged them- 
selves to adopt rules, fines and penalties for the introduction of 
spirituous liquors within their limits. It is pleasing to see the energies 
with which the movers of this truly desirable object press onward to 
suppress the use and abuse of ardent spirits amongst their people." 74 
The liquor evil was never thoroughly rooted out at Sugar Creek, where 
it continued to hamper seriously the work of the missionaries down to 
the transfer of the Indians to the North. 

Though economic conditions among the Potawatomi appear to 
have been satisfactory on the whole, there were periods of more or 

74 RCIA, 1847. 


less general poverty and distress. Such was the winter of 1844-1845 
following on the great floods of the preceding year, which ruined the 
crops. cc We owe it to kind Providence," wrote Father Hoecken, "that 
the hunting -this winter has been more successful than in any other 
year since the Indians came to this territory. Indeed, it is a mark of 
the special protection of God, without which the people must have 
suffered the greatest hardship, for provisions are now scarce and very 
dear." In February, 1845, the Government as a relief measure dis- 
tributed about three thousand bushels of corn among the Potawatomi. 
The fathers at the same time made them a gift of pork and flour. 
Hoecken was particularly active in collecting alms for the widows, 
orphans and poor generally. In March, 1845, he was able to distribute 
some money among the Peoria and Potawatomi, and in August of the 
same year visited St. Louis to seek aid for the poor of Sugar Creek. 
In February, 1847, he returned to the mission from a second begging 
tour through the states. The Indians themselves made provision from 
their slender income for the more destitute members of the tribe, as 
when in September, 1844, they set aside from their annuities the sum 
of $109.50 to be expended by the fathers for medicines and for the 
sick. 75 


The ministry of the fathers was not confined to the Indians of 
Sugar Creek. It reached out to the numerous tribes whose reserves were 
contiguous to or at no great distance from that of the Potawatomi. 
And here it is interesting to reflect that the Society of Jesus was thus 
enabled to renew its acquaintance with not a few of the tribes among 
whom the Jesuits of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries had 
moved about in the discharge of their apostolic tasks. Menard and 
Allouez set up missions for the Ottawa on the shores of Lake Superior 5 
Raymbault and Jogues, first of Jesuits to look upon the waters of the 
Great Lakes, met the Chippewa at the Sault as early as 16415 
Marquette made friends with the Peoria on his famous voyage down 
the Mississippi while among the Kaskaskia he established, as Allouez, 
Rasles, and Gravier after him consolidated, the first Catholic mission 

75 Sugar Creek Liber Parockialis. (F) . A bit of evidence as to the attitude of 
the Sugar Creek missionaries towards their Indian charges is furnished by N. Sayres 
Harris, who visited the Indian country in the spring of 1844. He did not reach 
Sugar Creek, being unable to obtain a fresh horse for the journey, but heard its 
schools highly spoken of. "My room-mate tonight was a Canadian engage with 
whom I contrived to hold a little conversation. He had no copy of the Sacred 
Scriptures, but told me he was a catechumen of the missionary, of whom he spoke 
in raptures. c When Indian sick priest lie on the floor and give him bed; if he 
have no covering, he cover him; do anything for Indian.' " Harris, of. cit. y p. 36. 


in the Mississippi Valley ; Allouez dealt with the Wea, a Miami sub- 
tribe, while Pinet and Bineteau wore themselves out in labor for the 
same Indians in their mission-post on the site of modern Chicago. And 
now these historic tribes, around whom is woven the story of Jesuit 
missionary enterprise in the Middle West during the seventeenth and 
eighteenth centuries, had the gospel preached to them anew by Jesuits 
of the nineteenth. 

Father Aelen, from his arrival at the mission in April, 1839, up to 
July of the same year, when Father Hoecken was withdrawn, worked 
chiefly among the Ottawa, Peoria, Wea and other neighboring tribes. 
That year he was visiting the Ottawa every second month, the congre- 
gation among them, however, numbering only twenty adults; but these 
were loyal and the prospect of conversions in the tribe seemed good. 
In March, 1844, a Potawatomi catechist was sent to the Ottawa to 
instruct the catechumens. In April one of the fathers was dispatched 
on the same mission. Finally, in January, 1 845, Father Francis Xavier 
De Coen established a mission-post among the Ottawa and made ar- 
rangements to administer the sacraments and say Mass among them 
once a month. In the course of one of his monthly excursions to the 
Ottawa, March, 1845, he visited the Peoria and the Chippewa, who 
promptly evinced an interest in Christianity and before long were beg- 
ging for a resident priest. 76 

The chief of the Chippewa or Ojibways with his family paid a visit 
to Sugar Creek on April 14, 1845, to petition the fathers to establish a 
mission-post among his tribesmen. In answer to this request De Coen 
was sent the next month to the Chippewa reserve. Having held a council 
with the Ottawa, the Chippewa came to the conclusion that they ought 

76 Hoecken's Diary. (F). Aelen ad Rosati September 25, 1839. (C). The 
Ottawa reserve was northwest of the Potawatomi and embraced all of the present 
Franklin County, Kansas. A Baptist Ottawa mission established in 1837 by Rev. 
Jotham Meeker near the present town of Ottawa was maintained until his death 
in 1854 (Kansas Historical Collections, 9:568). The Ottawa were of Algonkin 
stock and closely related to the Potawatomi. According to McCoy, Register of 
Indian Affairs, 1838, one language (presumably with modifications) was spoken by 
the Potawatomi, Chippewa and Ottawa, one by the Osage, Quapaw and Kansa, 
and one by the Oto and Iowa, while dialects of the same language were spoken 
by the Wea, Peoria, Piankashaw, Kaskaskia and Miami. It may here be noted that 
Father Van Quickenborne was the first nineteenth-century Jesuit to come in touch 
with the Miami, Wea, Piankashaw and Kaskaskia, at least in their trans-Mississippi 
habitats. Cf. Ann. Prop., 10: 137 et seq. For a visit of Father Nicholas Petit, a Jesuit 
of St. Mary's College, Kentucky, to the Miami in 1835, when they were still 
living in Indiana, cf. Ann. Prop., 10:138. Father Francis Xavier de Coen, a 
native of Ninove, East Flanders, Belgium, and a blood-relative of Father De 
Smet, was born December 19, 1811, entered the Society of Jesus October 19, 1843, 
and died at St. Mary's Potawatomi Mission July 16, 1864. 


to embrace Catholicism, for the Potawatomi, Chippewa and Ottawa, 
being close of kin, should be of the same mind in so important a matter 
as religion. Arrangements were accordingly completed for a Chippewa 
mission-station to be located in the vicinity of the Osage River. 77 

For the four confederated nations, the Peoria, Kaskaskia, Wea and 
Piankashaw, a station called by Father Aelen "Miamis 3 Station" and 
visited by him every second month was established in July, 1839, in the 
Peoria village on the left bank of the Marais des Cygnes in what is 
now Miami County, Kansas. Aelen was the first priest known to have 
visited this Peoria village, which was located on the site of the present 
Paola. With him the Catholic history of Paola begins. The station, 
however, was probably not maintained continuously for in 1845 the 
question of establishing mission-stations among these same tribes came 
up anew. On April 1 8 of that year Father De Coen, accompanied by two 
Indian interpreters, set out from Sugar Creek to visit the Peoria and 
Wea, among whom it was his intention to establish stations if he found 
the Indians favorably disposed. The Peoria and Wea chiefs met in 
council to hear De Coen and at the close of his address agreed to per- 
mit him to baptize their children. They asked him, moreover, to return 
after two weeks and instruct them, for they were willing to embrace 
the Catholic faith and bring up their children in its practice. At the 
expiration of two weeks two Peoria Indians appeared at Sugar Creek 
with a commission from their chief to make certain doctrinal inquiries. 
The inquiries were met with satisfactory answers and on the next day 
the Indians were dismissed, loaded with presents of meal and lard. 
Among the participants in the Christmas festivities of 1845 at Sugar 
Creek were a number of Peoria. On returning to their reservation, 
twenty-five miles distant, they were accompanied by Father Christian 
Hoecken, who remained with the tribe about ten days, during which 
time he baptized them all after due preparation and solemnized their 
marriages according to the Catholic rite. In March, 1 847, accompanied 
by a Potawatomi Indian to assist him, he returned to the Peoria to 

77 Sugar Creek Liber Parochiatis. (F). The Chippewa reserve, very small in 
extent, adjoined the Potawatomi on the north. The Sugar Creek records show 
numerous baptisms among tribes other than the Potawatomi. Thus on June 20, 1839, 
"in the Wea village near Bull Creek" were baptized two Potawatomi children, the 
four-year old Marie, daughter of Nepetosia and Antapigwa (sponsor, Charles 
Chauret) and Ignace, eight days old, son of Lapenja and Petotonke. In the Peoria 
village "near the Osage River," was baptized May 21, 1839, Magdalene, daughter 
of Kirsone and Helene Duquoigue. In the same village there were four baptisms 
by Verreydt, January 26, 27, 1847, and nine by Hoecken, March 3, 1847. There 
were forty-four baptisms of "Piyankichas" in "Piyankicha village" by Hoecken, 
April 25-28, 1847 and eleven baptisms of persons of <h* wno tribe at Sugar Creek, 
April 4-30, 1847, by Hoecken and Verreydt. 


prepare them for their first holy communion. To the number of 
forty they received the sacrament on Trinity Sunday. During all this 
time the tribe was in the most destitute circumstances. In May, 1847, 
the fathers hired a carpenter to repair their mill, which had long been 
out of commission. Later in the same year they were furnished with 
articles of clothing which Father Verreydt had brought from St. Louis 
and with seed-corn for the autumn. 78 

In February, 1846, Father Hoecken, in the hope of converting the 
Sauk Indians, visited the tribe in their new reservation along the Kaw 

78 Sugar Creek Liber Parochialis. (F). Aelen ad Rosati, September 25, 1839. 
(C). De Coen a son pere, Feb. 18, 1846. Archives of the Belgian Province, SJ. 
The Peoria and Wea lands lay north of the Potawatomi in the present Miami 
County. The present Paola (Piola i.e. Peoria), Miami County, was a Peoria village. 
A Baptist mission among the Wea was established a mile east of Paola by Dr. David 
Lykins about 1840. The Wea and Piankashaw were sub-tribes or bands of the 
Miami. The Wea or Ouaitenon had a village at Chicago at the end of the seven- 
teenth century and a later village at Ouaitenon, the modern Lafayette, Indiana, 
while the Piankashaw were settled at one time on the site of Vincennes, Indiana. 
In 1832 both tribes sold their lands in the East and agreed to move to the Osage 
River district as one tribe. By the treaty of Castor Hill, St. Louis County, Mis- 
souri, October 27, 1832, the Peoria and Kaskaskia, with whom were united the 
remnants of the Mitchigamea, Cahokia and Tamaroa (the five tribes of the famous 
Illinois confederacy) also ceded their lands in Illinois and in lieu thereof accepted 
a reserve in the Osage River Valley. In 1854 tne Wea anc * Piankashaw joined the 
remnant of the cognate Illinois, then known as the Peoria and Kaskaskia, the 
seven tribes then numbering together only 259, a large proportion of whom were 
of mixed blood. The confederated tribes reside at present in Oklahoma. (Hodge, 
Handbook of American Indians, art. *Wea," "Piankashaw.") 

A list, compiled by Jesuit missionaries, of Miami County's first Catholic Indian 
settlers is in Kinsella, The History of Our Cradle-Land (Kansas City, 1921), p. 
27. Forty-six names occur including those of Basile Boyer and Baptiste Peoria, the 
last-named reputed chief of the confederated "Kaskaskia and Peoria, Piankashaw 
and Wea Indians." The town of Paola was laid out on a tract of land 403^ acres 
conveyed by Baptiste Peoria and his wife in 1864 for a consideration of five thou- 
sand dollars to the Paola Town Company, the tract being part of the two sections 
of land acquired by them under the treaty of 1854. The first Catholic church in 
Paola, a one-story stone building, was built on land donated by him and his wife 
in 1859. Baptiste Peoria accompanied the confederated tribes to the Indian Terri- 
tory (Oklahoma) in 1868, dying there in 1874. Kinsella's book also reproduces a 
"status animaTum?' or census-record and a baptismal register for "the Peorias and 
Piyankichas, 1846," a marriage-book of the "Miami, Weas, Peorias, Piankashaws, 
New York Indians" and a "baptismal register of the Miami Nation," the last- 
named document covering the period 1848-1861. Excepting six baptisms recorded 
by Father Ivo Schacht and one by Father Theodore Heimann, all the entries in 
this register are by Jesuit missionaries. The last Miami baptism recorded by a 
Jesuit is dated November 9, 1857, the officiating priest being Father Schoenmakers. 
The above mentioned census-book (Latin) records that "the patron of the church 
of the Peorias is St. Francis Xavier" and that "the title of the church of the 
Piyankichas is the Patronage of the Most Blessed Joseph." The Indian chapel of 


River 79 In August he visited them again, as well as two other uncon- 
verted tribes, the Piankashaw and Miami. The Sauk chanced to be 
absent on a hunt, but he was welcomed by the other tribes, who asked 
him to return after some months, permitting him in the meantime to 
baptize their children. Before the end of August he was back among 
the Piankashaw, all of whom were now eager to embrace the Faith. In 
March, 1847, while on a missionary trip to the Peoria, he met a band 
of Piankashaw, who with their chief Wakochinga, had come to see him. 
He instructed the party, baptized them and blessed their marriages. 
In April the tireless missionary was again in the Piankashaw village, 
on this occasion remaining about ten days with the tribe and baptizing 
about sixty of them. After their conversion the Piankashaw took to 
farming, which was a new experience for them, and the missionaries, to 
encourage their efforts, made them presents of seed. In the fall of 
1847, the Piankashaw and their neighbors, the Peoria, were being 
visited the first Sunday of each month by Father Charles Truyens, in 
pursuance of an arrangement made by the superior of the Sugar Creek 
Mission, Father Verreydt, 80 who wrote in his report to government 
for 1847: 

Long since, we used to visit the Peoria, a destitute, forlorn tribe of 
Indians, who seemed not only to need our assistance, but to be truly worthy 
of it. The wretched state in which we first found them was really pitiful; 
but thanks to Him who calls Himself the father of the poor, no sooner had 
they begun to embrace the doctrines of the Catholic Church, than they began 
to emerge from their state of wretchedness; they became models of temper- 
ance and industry; and, I may say, that their condition both in a moral and 
temporal point of view, has been so admirably improved that they have 
excited their neighboring brethren to a laudable emulation, wherefore, almost 
the whole tribe of Piankashaw have commenced to tread in the footsteps of 
the former, and, like them, to live as good, sober, industrious members of our 
church; others are preparing likewise to quit and change their old modes of 
living; and, in fact, so favorable are the dispositions of many of the Indians 
towards a change for the better and the habits of civilization, that, in corre- 
spondence with this general manifestation of good will, we have determined 
upon extending and multiplying our missions as much as our means will 
allow; and that, if the government and its respectable officers should lend us 
the hand, and bear part of our expenses, we doubt not but we shall effect, 

St. Francis Xavier at the Peoria Village (Paola) erected sometime prior to 1 846 is 
"supposed to have been at or near the famous old spring in the northwest part of 
the town." Kinsella, of. cit^ p. 24. 

79 The Sauk and Foxes of the Mississippi, in number over three thousand, and 
the largest tribe in the Osage River sub-agency, were settled on a reserve adjoining 
the Potawatomi reserve on the northwest. The Osage River sub-agency was at one 
time located on their reserve. 

80 Sugar Creek Liber ParochiaUs. (F) . 


ere long still more good amongst our Pottawatomies and their neighboring 
red brethren. 81 

Father Verreydt's account of the Peoria is borne out by the report 
(1847) of Agent Vaughn of the Osage River sub-agency: 

The Peoria have, as usual, been very industrious and exemplary. With 
no annuity or pecuniary aid from government, it is surprising, to those ac- 
quainted with the listless habits of Indians, to observe how well these people 
have managed. I read with pleasure your remarks respecting this remnant 
of excellent people embodied in your last year's report. 

But the work of the fathers was not confined to the Indians, 
whether Potawatomi or other tribes 5 it reached out in periodical mis- 
sionary trips to the white settlements then in course of formation along 
the Missouri border. From the closing of the Kickapoo Mission in 1841 
until the arrival of Father Donnelly at Independence in 1846 the only 
Catholic priests exercising the ministry along the Missouri-Kansas line 
were those from Sugar Creek. Father Aelen, superior of the mission, 
was holding services in "Chouteau's Church" on the site of Kansas City, 
Missouri, as early as June, 1839, and it was at his instance, it would 
appear, that the church first received the name of St. Francis Regis, 
which it bore thereafter. On November 17, 1839, he administered bap- 
tism, "in ecclesla S. F. Regis prope oppidum Westport," "in the church 
of St. Francis Regis near the town of Westport," which place with 
Independence he was visiting three times a year from Sugar Creek. 8 - 

81 RCIA, 1847. 

82 Garraghan, Catholic Beginnings in Kansas City, Missouri, Chap. V, "The 
Jesuit Ministry." Also supra, Chap. VIII, 4. 

Numerous baptisms of whites are recorded in the Sugar Creek registers. Father 
Aelen, seemingly on his way to Sugar Creek, baptized at Boonville, Mo., April 6, 
1839, Mary Ann Weber and Sophie Fuchs. Three days later, April 9, at Fishering 
Creek, Ray Co., he baptized Mary Le Roy. There were seven baptisms by him at 
Lexington, Mo., January 23-26, 1842, the list including Maria Whclan, Evelina 
Maria Mountain, Basile Butard, Margaretha Holden, Marie Meyers, Cecile dtie. 
Cabeen, wife of J. Mulligan. There were two baptisms also at Lexington by 
Father Eysvogels, November 5, 1842, the names of the subjects, Philomene Digges 
Mountain and Ellen Mulligan. Eysvogels's circuit of July-November, 1842, in 
western Missouri, brought him through Clay Co., English Grove, Holt Co., Black- 
snake Hills, Weston, Kansas River, 3rd fork of Platte, Buchanan Co., Platte Co., 
Clay Co., Fishering River, Blow [Blue] Mills, Jackson Co., Lexington. Eleven 
baptisms by Hoecken are recorded for the Platte Purchase, May 28, i843~July 9, 
1 843, among those listed being Marie Early, Jean Rodgers, Anne Elizabeth Murphy, 
Birgitte Martin, Elizabeth Buller, Louis Dussene, Stanislaus Peltier, Michael Mc- 
Cafferty. Irish names predominate among the sponsors. On October 16, 1843, 
Hoecken baptized at Weston Michael, son of Michael Hughes and Helen Brady. 
A second missionary trip by Hoecken September-October, 1 843, resulted in twenty- 


More closely identified even than Father Aelen with the early 
Catholic ministry in the Westport district was Father Verreydt, who 
succeeded Aelen" as superior at Sugar Creek in 1841. His name is the 
only one signed to Westport baptisms from October 7, 1841, to Sep- 
tember 28, 1845, if we except the names of Bishop Kenrick of St. Louis 
and Father Peter De Vos, the former of whom officiated at five baptisms 
and the latter at two. Father Verreydt was practically the Catholic 
pastor of Westport during the period 1841-1846. But this "jumping- 
off place" of the frontier, which was only some seventy miles to the 
northeast of Sugar Creek, did not terminate the range of the ministerial 
activities carried on from that center on behalf of the whites. Fathers 
Eysvogels and Hoecken visited the settlements on either bank of the 
Missouri north of Westport, the latter including Council Bluffs in his 
missionary circuit. The foundations of the Church along the Missouri 
border were laid by energetic religious pioneers who went forth on their 
apostolic rounds from Sugar Creek. 

On the whole the net result of the ten years' effort of the Jesuit 
missionaries at Sugar Creek was satisfactory. The school reports of 
Father Verreydt dwelt upon the moral and social amelioration of the 
natives as an obvious fact. In 1845 he spoke in his report to Major 
Harvey of "the prosperous and happy condition of this Pottawatomie 
tribe under your superintendence." 83 To Agent Vaughn he wrote in 
1846: "You are not unacquainted with the Indians amongst whom we 
reside j you perfectly know their state of improvement and with what 
earnestness the larger portion of them behave themselves as true Chris- 
tians and as people of civilized manners." 84 In August, 1 847, on the 
eve of the breaking up of the missions, he could still testify to the ex- 

eight baptisms, twenty of them at Council Bluffs, the places visited being, besides 
the last named, Irish Grove, Nijnibotna (Nishnibotna), Savanah, Weston. In May- 
June, 1846, Hoecken conferred thirty-eight baptisms at Council Bluffs and eight 
at Bellevue, these last being the earliest known for Nebraska. At Council Bluffs 
were baptized on this trip children of George Mullin, Edward Parks, Therese 
Chevalier, Louis Pinnegar, Louis Bellair, Louis Ose (Ogee?), Antoine Tissi'er, 
Pierre Bourbonnais, Alten Harden, Joseph Laframboise, Darling Antoine Bruno, 
Michael Barnabe, Theodore Grondais, Louis Wilmet and Andrew Le Compte. At 
Harmony Mission in Missouri, Adeline, daughter of John Lynch and Anne O'Neal, 
was baptized May 5, 1846. The spelling of some of these names is uncertain. 

Deepwater (now Germantown in Henry County, Missouri) was a German con- 
gregation. Father Verreydt administered three baptisms here on November 11-12, 
1843. Here also was baptized March 20, 1846, Maria Elizabeth Fiemann and 
Henri Antoine Westhuse. (F). "May, 1847, Reverend Father Verreydt went to 
Deepwater to preach to the Germans and to afford the settlers an opportunity to gain 
the indulgence and privileges of the Jubilee." Sugar Creek Liber Parochialis. (F). 

**RCIA, 1845. 
, 1846. 


empkry conduct of his Indian flock. "The Pottawatomies who live at 
our mission form a congregation of upwards of 1,300 members of the 
Catholic church, accustomed to sober, industrious habits, emulating the 
white man in the various duties and exercises of a civilized life 5 and 
being so remarkable for their piety and assiduous attendance to church 
duties, that our church, large as it is, is unable to contain the thronged 
multitude of Christians." 85 A picture in detail of conditions in the 
mission at about the same period was drawn by Verreydt in a com- 
munication to the Father General: 

I can say that the piety of many among them and the innocent life they 
lead often touches me. It is true we have some who are weak, but I know 
several who can be compared with the first Christians. I am convinced that 
they never commit serious sin; yes, sometimes one has difficulty in giving 
them absolution for lack of matter. It is a great satisfaction to see the church 
almost every Sunday so filled with people that I can scarcely find room 
enough for giving the asperges with holy water. Though our church is quite 
large it is so filled with Indians that not a foot of it is left unoccupied. A 
number station themselves in the sacristy and many are to be found standing 
around outside the church like poor lost children. Some, after committing a 
rather serious sin, do not dare to enter the church for a long time after so 
great is the respect they have for the house of the Lord. All listen to the word 
of God with admirable attention. If during the sermon a child becomes noisy, 
the mother at once leaves the church. It is all silence there ; nothing is heard 
except the strong voice of Father Hoecken who speaks to them in their own 
language like an Indian himself. If we only had a number of Fathers who 
spoke the language as he does, what an amount of good could be done! I am 
convinced more and more that unless one knows how to speak their language 
well one can never accomplish solid and permanent good. St. Francis Xavier 
was right when he said that the words which come from the mouth of an 
interpreter haven't the same force as words from the minister of God. But it 
appears to be difficult if not impossible to find many Fathers who can learn 
the language. Good Father De Coen, who was with us for two years, did 
not succeed; this is why Father Provincial recalled him. But we are promised 
an9ther Father next August. I hope he will have a true vocation for these 
missions. Good Father Hoecken is truly to be pitied for the whole burden of 
the Mission falls on him. Every Friday and Saturday in every week of the 
year he does nothing except hear the confessions of the Indians, who naturally 
do not like to confess through an interpreter, especially when they are sick. 
It is necessary then for this poor Father, who already begins to grow gray 
and be worn out with work, to bear the burden of the Mission for two years 
longer, for one needs at least two years to learn the language so as to be 
able to hear confessions. If the one sent here has not the talent requisite for 
the mission, I fear its total ruin for Father Hoecken will not live long. I can- 
not give him much aid for I do not speak the language. I was very anxious 

85 Idem, 1 847. 


to learn it at Council Bluffs, but seeing the disorders prevalent among those 
Indians, I lost courage. I was sent here for only one year by Father Ver- 
haegen. The year having slipped by I had still to remain here on account 
of great difficulties, which have scarcely been overcome and of which your 
Paternity has received an exact account. Having always the idea that I should 
not remain here long and being diffident of myself, seeing that I should never 
be able to learn the language, I remained here right along like a bird on a 
branch for it was always doubtful whether I should stay or not. I begin to 
regret that I have not exerted myself in order to be of use just now to the 
mission; but rheumatism and old age, which begin to take hold of me, make 
me despair of ever learning the language. 

All that I do here is to act as econome of the house and hear the confes- 
sions of our Brothers and of the Ladies of the Sacred Heart and a few other 
persons who speak English. I say High Mass every Sunday and during Father 
Hoecken's absence I preach through an interpreter. Three times a year I visit 
the Catholics of Westport and Independence 75 miles from here, but as they 
have a pastor at present, [Rev. Bernard Donnelly], I now have only one 
mission [Deepwater], 50 miles from here, where the Germans have built a 
pretty little church. From time to time I pay a visit to the Catholic soldiers 
at Fort Scott, 30 miles from here. This, Reverend Father, is all I am doing 
for God. Still I believe I can say that I desire nothing more than to be occu- 
pied in the service of God from morning to night and I hope that our Father 
Provincial will give me enough work in a few months. All I ask is that he 
send us this time a man of ability, so necessary among the savages if I can 
call them such. It seems that those who have never lived among the savages 
are unwilling to believe they are men like ourselves. But their black and 
piercing eyes show that they are. If a stranger conies among them, they don't 
need much time to know him thoroughly. In a short time they give him a 
name which fits him exactly. It seems that when they look at a person they 
penetrate to the depths of his soul. An Indian is perfect master of his passions. 
I have never seen him in anger. His eyes rarely indicate the movements of 
his soul. You can heap on him the greatest insults; he is unmoved. His eyes 
are fixed on you, but without emotion. Everything remains hidden in his 
heart until an occasion presents itself for vengeance. 88 

Finally, Indian agents and other officials were not behindhand in 
witnessing to the success of the mission. A typical report is Agent 
Vaughn's, 1845: 

It is gratifying to state that the Pottawatomies, generally speaking, have 
evinced a very laudable desire to cultivate the soil. Those on Sugar Creek 

86 Verreydt a Roothaan, April 23, 1847. (AA). "I noticed one [Sugar Creek 
Indian] in particular who was constantly engaged either in praying or in instructing 
others in the performance of their Christian duties. He was a true example of piety. 
When hearing Mass lie told Father Hoecken that he had seen, even sometimes 
during holy communion, the visible presence of Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist. 
We gave credit to his words on account of the pious life he led." Verreydt, 
Memoirs. (A). 


have, within the last few years, mostly abandoned the bottom lands, which 
are subject to the annual periodical inundations in the spring of the year, and 
are now cultivating the prairie land with much success. This summer (in 
compliance with your instructions) one hundred and fifty acres of prairie have 
been broken up, viz: about one hundred acres at Sugar Creek and fifty at 
Pottawatomie Creek 5 seed wheat has been furnished for sowing, and from 
the efforts made by these people this season, I have hopes that next year their 
industry and perseverance will be amply rewarded. The Pottawatomies living 
on Sugar Creek, viz: the Wabash bands and nearly one-half the St. Joseph, 
have been as usual very exemplary. They have raised this season a consider- 
able quantity of small grain such as wheat, oats, buckwheat, corn and vege- 
tables they have laid in a good quantity of prairie hay, and are well furnished 
for the winter. It is pleasing to observe the general good conduct of these 
Indians; they are industrious and moral; are comfortably fixed in good log 
houses; and their fields are well fenced, staked and ridered. They are com- 
municants to the number of about eleven hundred, of the Roman Catholic 
Church; and too much praise cannot be awarded to the zealous fathers of 
this persuasion for the good they have wrought among this people. Two 
schools are in operation. The female one, under the direction of the Ladies 
of the Sacred Heart, deserves particular commendation. 86a 

While the general course of the mission at Sugar Creek was thus 
progressive in all that made for the material and moral welfare of 
the Indians, a condition of things eventually developed that boded ill 
for its future. Agent Vaughn commented in 1847 on tne circumstance 
that the hitherto exemplary Sugar Creek Indians had been infected by 
the evil example of less conscientious sections of the tribe. In June the 
drink evil began to assume alarming proportions and appeared to have 
gone beyond control of agents and missionaries as well. Under the 
circumstances Father Verreydt and his fellow-workers welcomed the 
proposed transfer of the Potawatomi to a new reserve where the curse 
of intoxicating drink would be less likely to reach these helpless chil- 
dren of the soil. 87 

, 1845. 

87 The mission registers, now in the archives of St. Mary's College, St. Marys, 
Kansas, are sources of the first importance for the history of the Sugar Creek 

I. The Baptismal Register (Liber Baftismorum in Missions, ad Stam Mariam 
dicta inter Indianos sub nomine Putawat omens es) furnishes numerous personal and 
other data of interest. John Tipton, alias Pierre Kionum, Potawatomi school-teacher, 
himself a member of the tribe, was god-father to two infants baptized by Father 
Petit at the end of September, 1838. (This must have been on the way from 
Indiana as Father Petit arrived with his exiles at Potawatomi Creek only on Novem- 
ber 4, 1838.) During October, 1838, nine Potawatomi were baptized by Father 
Hoecken, J. N. Bourassa being god-father to all. On July 10, 1842, was baptized 
Jean Francis Regis dictus Tokapowi, twenty-six years of age, the sponsor being 



Ministerial excursions from Sugar' Creek paved the way in two 
instances for the establishment of independent missions. The Osage 

Mother Duchesne. Very probably the name under which the neophyte received the 
sacrament was suggested by the nun, whose devotion to St. John Francis Regis was 
outstanding. Mother Duchesne also assisted in the capacity of god-mother at the 
baptism (on succeeding days) of Josephine Rose, dicta Anwanike, fifty-five years old, 
and of Marie Akogue, sixty years old. As god-parents figure also Madame Xavier, 
Father Verreydt, Brothers Miles and Van der Borght and Pierre Pokegan. The 
total number of baptisms administered while the mission lasted was as follows: 

Adults Infants Total 

1838 26 14 40 

1839 42 74 116 

1840 50 8 i 131 

1841 77 86 163 

1842 94 135 229 

1843 123 

1844 46 82 128 

1845 H3 

1846 72 196 168 

1847 66 76 142 

1848 5 43 48 

2. The Burial Register (Register Sepdturarum inceftus anno Dni 1838 inter 
Indianos sub Nomine Putawatomenses in terris suis p f ofe flumen Osage degentes) 
records that twelve Indians were buried by Father Hoecken "near the river com- 
monly called Putowatomi Creek, coemeterio nullo jormato, c as no cemetery had 
been laid out.' " "In the beginning of March, 1839, nearly all the faithful moved 
to the river known as Sugar Creek, where a cemetery was laid out and the burial 
register began to be kept with accuracy." The number of burials for the successive 
years was as follows: 1840, 55; 1841, 72; 1842, 61; 1843, 78; 1844, 45; 1846, 
79; 1847, 795 1848, 28. 

3. The Parish Census (Liber Status Arwmarum Parochiae Conceftionis B. V. M. 
inter Potowatomies) begins with 1841, at which time the parish counted 812 souls. 
The following year this number had risen to 940. Over three hundred heads of 
families are listed, with names, besides, of wife, children and other persons living 
under the same roof. Thus four Bertrands are named, Samuel, Laurent (Lawrence) , 
Joseph, and Alexius, usually called Amable, who married Elisa McCarthy. Three 
Bourassas are listed as head of families, Jude, Joseph and Lazarus or Lazare. Jude 
had seven brothers Lazare, Etienne, Eloy, Alexander, Daniel, Jacques and Gabriel 
and a sister Elizabeth. Jude Bourassa, who is described as a "vaut rien" "a good- 
for-nothing," appears to have gone over to the Baptists and is mentioned by Father 
Van de Velde in a communication to Washington (February 8, 1844) as having 
been involved in a plot against the Sugar Creek Mission. Supra, note 71. 

- '4. An additional census book (Numerus Catfyolicorum in Parocbia anno Domini 
nostriJ. C., 1844 Sugar Creek) covers the period 1844-1850. 

5. Marriage Register (Liber Matrimoniorum frimo Missionis inter Kickafoos 
ab anno 1836 usque ad mensem Octobris 1838; deinde Missionis inter Putawato- 
menses frofe flumen Osage nempe a mense Octobris 1838-1840). 


Mission was an outgrowth of Sugar Creek. The Miami Mission was 
likewise a scion of the same parent-stock, being originally but one of 
the numerous stations served from that busy missionary center. The 
Miami reserve lay northeast of the Potawatomi lands and close to the 
Missouri state-line, on which it abutted. The Miami had been settled 
there since 1846, having by various treaties sold their holdings in In- 
diana and agreed to move to the new lands along the Osage River 
reserved to them by the government. 88 The Jesuits were no strangers 
to this one-time powerful tribe. They had worked among them at the 
Mission of the Guardian Angel of Chicago, as also on the St. Joseph 
River near the southern limit of what is now the State of Michigan. 
Jesuit relations with the Miami in the nineteenth century were re- 
newed by Father Van Quickenborne in a chance meeting with members 
of the tribe in his western excursion of 1835. Later, Christian Hoecken 

At the trading-post of the American Fur Company, about fifteen miles east of the 
Sugar Creek Mission, Father Aelen joined in wedlock on October 26, 1840, 
Thomas Mongeon (Mongrain?), an Osage half-breed, and Helene Dehaitre "dite 
veuve Bastien" seven witnesses to the ceremony, Andrew Drips, the fur-trader 
among them, being named in the register. Marriages by Father Hoecken at Council 
Bluffs (e.g. Pierre Harnoir and Sally Holcomb, April 29, 1840) and English 
Grove, Mo. (e.g. Simon Fleury and Catherine Martin, May 3, 1842), are also 

6. Parish Book (Liber Parochialis Ecclesiae Conceftionis B.V.M. inter Puta- 
watomenses). In addition to the names of first communicants, the confirmed, mem- 
bers of the Association of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, the Confraternity 
of the Scapular, and heads of families belonging to the Society of Jesus and Mary, 
this register contains a Latin account of the Sugar Creek Mission apparently by 
Father Hoecken. This account is referred to above under the caption, "Sugar 
Creek Liber Parochialis? to distinguish it from Father Hoecken's Kalendwium, 
a diary properly so-called, which begins only with 1848. A translation of the 
account in the Liber Parochialis as also of the diary appeared in the Dial (St. 
Mary's College, St. Marys, Kansas), 1890. Cf. supra, note 33. 

Familiar names in late Potawatomi affairs are met with in the Sugar Creek rec- 
ords. April 10, 1842, Hoecken baptized and then joined in wedlock Pierre Droyard 
and Therese Rose Kuese, the witnesses being Brother Van der Borght and Mother 
Duchesne. February 16, 1843, Father Verreydt performed a similar double cere- 
mony in favor of Abraham Burnet (Envashina) and Marie Knofloch, daughter of 
John and Elizabeth Knofloch. February 21, 1844, the same father married "at the 
Ottawa Village" Moise Paulin and Margureth [sic] Kwekotchi, witnesses, Joseph 
Loughton and Angelique Roi. April 14, 1844, Hoecken married at Sugar Creek, 
Daniel Bourassa and Elizabeth Pisita, daughter of Misabo, witnesses Thomas Wat- 
kins and John Tipton. Michael Nadau (Nadeau) had for his first wife Angelique 
Bertrand (died February 6, 1844) and for his second Therese Ketkwe, to whom 
he was married July 13, 1845. Pierre Pokegan and his wife Marie Otasowa had a 
child, Pierre Felix Pokegan, born March 7, 1843. 

88 For immediate neighbors the Miami had on the north the Wea and Pian- 
kashaw, on the west the Potawatomi and on the south the New York Indians or 
so-called Six Nations. The Missouri state-line bounded the Miami on the east. 


made visits from Sugar Creek to the Miami reserve and planted some 
few mustard-grains of the Faith among members of the tribe. In a let- 
ter of March 18, 1847, Superintendent Harvey took up with Father 
Verreydt the question of opening a mission-school among the Miami. 89 
Three days later fifteen chiefs of the nation assembled at the govern- 
ment issue-house and in presence of Agent Vaughn signed the fol- 
lowing petition: 

We, the chiefs and principal men of the part of the Miami nation located 
west of the State of Missouri, being deeply impressed with the great impor- 
tance of educating our people and believing the provisions made by treaty to 
be inadequate for that purpose and being anxious to establish a manual-labor 
school under the direction of the Catholic church, do hereby agree, authorize 
and request the President of the United States to advance out of our annuities 
for the year 1847, ^SOO to be added to the fund of $2062 which, we are 
informed by the Superintendent of Indian Affairs, is now available, for the 
purpose of erecting buildings and other important improvements necessary for 
conducting a manual-labor school. The school to be located in our country 
by the principal men of the nation with the advice of sub-agent and such 
ministers as the Catholic church may designate. 90 

In June, 1847, Father Van de Velde, having laid the project of a 
Miami mission before his advisers, was counseled by them to look over 
the ground on his contemplated visit to the Indian country, and, if he 
found it expedient, to accept the mission. 91 The venture promised well 
.and in November, 1847, Van de Velde signed a contract with the 
government to open a school among the Miami at their village on the 
east bank of the Marais des Cygnes, as the upper Osage River was 
called. Father Charles Truyens, who had served a two-year apprentice- 
ship in Indian missionary life at Sugar Creek, was named superior of 
the "Residence of St. Francis Regis among the Miami. 53 Father Duer- 
inck had been the original choice of the superior as associate to Truyens ; 
in the event Father Henry Van Mierlo was appointed to the post. 
He was without experience on the Indian missions and came to the 
Miami from the novitiate, where he had been employed in light 
parochial labor. No other fathers besides these two were attached to 
the Miami establishment during its brief career. 

The mission was located on an elevated piece of tableland in the 
present Miami County about fifteen miles west of the town of West- 
point, Van Buren County, Missouri, and ten miles southeast of the site 
of Paola. The main buildings, two in number, standing fifty yards apart, 

* 9 Harvey to Verreydt, March 18, 1847. (H). 


91 Liber Consult ationum. (A) . 


and made of hewn logs, were each two stories high, fifty-one feet long 
and eleven wide, and contained four rooms about twenty feet square. 
The soil around was said to be good and capable of producing fifty 
bushels of corn to the acre. Connected with the mission was a field of 
forty acres fenced and broken. 

The labors of the fathers from their arrival in 1847 yielded but a 
very meagre measure of success. The school in particular proved to be 
a failure. 02 Major Handy, the Indian agent, in a report to Superin- 
tendent Mitchell, attributed the failure chiefly to two causes: the school 
was not of the manual labor type and no provision was made in it for 
the education of girls though the majority of the Miami children were 
of that sex. The agent was, besides, clearly dissatisfied with the Catholic 
management and recommended that the school be given to the Baptists 
or Presbyterians, the Rev. Daniel Lykins, superintendent of the Wea 
Baptist Mission being proposed by him as a competent person to take 
the institution in hand. 93 As a matter of fact, Fathers Truyens and 
Van Mierlo would seem to have been at fault in the matter, at least 
so believed Father De Smet, who regretted their failure to manage 
the school to better purpose. This result he attributed to a lack on 
their part of energy and enterprise. At the same time the general 
wretchedness existing at the time among the Miami must be regarded 

92 The maximum number of pupils was eight and most of the time averaged 
only three. In July, 1849, only one child was in attendance. Handy to Mitchell, 
July I, 1849. (H). The first Miami baptism (by Father Truyens) is dated Sep- 
tember 2, 1848, the last, July I, 1849. Father Van Mierlo's last baptism in the 
same tribe was on August 5, 1849. Subsequent baptisms among the Miami are by 
Fathers Bax and Ponziglione, the secular priest Father Schacht beginning to visit 
the tribe only in 1859. (Kinsella, op. cit. y pp. 241-243.) Miami baptisms are also 
entered in the Sugar Creek Baptismal Register. There were three at "Miamistown," 
December 17, 1848, by Truyens, and three at Miami Village, March 28, 1849, by 
Van Mierlo. On April 21, 1849, Truyens baptized at "Miamitown," Pierre, son 
of Pierre Pemtikwidjik and Terese Wawakwe, god-father, Louis Wilson. (F). 

98 Handy to Mitchell, October 9, 1849. (H). Rev. Mr. Lykins, following up 
Major Handy^ suggestion, made application for the management of the Miami 
school as appears from his letter in the files of the Indian Bureau, Washington. In 
a previous report submitted to Superintendent Mitchell (July i, 1849, H) 
Handy lays the blame for the failure of the school on the incompetency of 
the persons in charge. The Major appears to have felt particular irritation over a 
statement made by Truyens in a report to the effect that there were only 87 Indians 
on the reserve. He calls Mitchell's attention to the fact that there are 284 Indians 
on the pay-roll, 100 of them being children, of whom 75 live in the immediate 
vicinity of the mission. In transmitting Major Handy's report to the Bureau, August 
I, 1849, Mitchell made the following comment: "As an act of justice to the 
reverend gentlemen in charge of the school, from whom I have lately received a 
letter in relation to the number of Miami, I would state that when he put down 87 
as the number of Miami, he merely referred to those of pure blood and who were 
settled in the immediate neighborhood of the mission." 


as a circumstance that had much to do with the failure of the Catholic 
Miami school. A paragraph from Major Handy's report for 1849 deals 
with conditions among the tribe, which perhaps were not quite as bad 
as they are described: 

The Miami tribe of Indians are located on the Marais des Cygnes and 
its tributaries, having the best country in my agency, both in point of soil and 
timber, neither of which is doing them much good. There is but a single field, 
out of the large number that has been broken up for them, that has been 
tilled this year, although they are almost starving for bread. A majority are 
living within fifteen miles of the State-line, all along which are placed, at 
convenient points, numbers of groceries, which so contrive to evade the law 
as to furnish the Indians with any quantity of whiskey, and receive from 
them, when their money is gone, blankets, horses and clothing of all descrip- 
tions. The Miamies are a miserable race of beings, and in consequence of their 
dissipated habits, are fast passing off the stage of being. Within the last year, 
thirty have died. They now number about two hundred and fifty, 
though I do not believe there are over two hundred Miamies proper. 
They are not only destroying themselves by liquor, but are continually mur- 
dering one another. There is less intelligence among these Indians than any 
in my agency; indeed, there is scarcely a sensible man among them. Their 
present wretched condition I conceive to be the result of excessive indulgence 
in drink. So as far as obedience to their agent and a strict compliance with 
the wishes of government is concerned, there is no fault to be found with 
them. 94 

The odds against the missionaries were plainly heavy enough though 
probably greater resourcefulness on their part would have enabled them 
to carry on. At all events. Father Truyens, discouraged over what 
appeared to him the very slender hope of accomplishing anything on 
behalf of the liquor-loving Miami, urged upon Father Elet, the dis- 
continuance of the mission. This the vice-provincial reluctantly agreed 
to, for there were no competent hands available to go on with the work. 
Accordingly Father De Smet as procurator of the vice-province and 
official intermediary in all business dealings between the government 
and the Indian missions appealed in May, 1849, to Superintendent of 
Indian Affairs Mitchell for a release of the Jesuits from the Miami 
school. 95 The superintendent, after correspondence with the Indian 
Bureau, acquiesced in the petition and instructed Major Handy of 
the Osage River Agency to take over from the missionaries the school- 
buildings and other public property of the mission. "For some cause," 
Mitchell wrote to Commissioner of Indian Affairs Brown, August I, 
1849, " an d probably as much as any other from the intemperance of 

*RCIA, 1849. 

95 De Smet to Mitchell, May n, 1849. ( H )- 


the Miami, the school has not prospered." 96 "I regret deeply the 
necessity which has compelled you," Mitchell had written in May, 
1849, to I> e Smet, "to abandon this laudable undertaking; but at the 
same time fully concur with you in the expediency of doing so. I sin- 
cerely hope that the benevolent and sincerely Christian exertions in 
other places may meet with a better reward. If Providence has ordained 
otherwise, you will at least have the heartfelt satisfaction of knowing 
that you have done your duty in this world and the cherishing hope 
of a suitable reward in the next." 97 

The buildings of the mission were turned over in the summer of 
1849 to Major Handy and the missionaries at once took their depar- 
ture. Father Truyens was recalled to St. Louis, Father Van Mierlo 
was sent to Washington, Mo., to assist Father Eysvogels, while Brother 
Toelle was assigned to the Potawatomi mission of St. Mary's. 

Despite the ill-success of the Catholic mission among the Miami, 
1847-1849, it is clear that the Indians did not lose their desire for 
Catholic missionaries as appears from the fact that in 1851 they were 
asking for them again. In a letter dated "Miami Nation, November 2, 
1851," Father Bax, the Osage missionary, then on a visit to the tribe, 
wrote to Major Coffey: 

They tell me that a large majority of the nation want to have a Catholic 
mission. If this would be the case, I think they would have the right to have 
one, I communicated to [with] the General Superintendent of our Indian 
Missions and he tells me that although the tribe is small, still, as all the half- 
breeds and also some of the Indians were Catholics, he would take charge of 
it when offered by the Government. What I would kindly ask of you is to 
ascertain the above statement impartially by vote or otherwise so that all undue 
influence may be avoided in those for or against. I could have ascertained it 
by petition, but was unwilling to try it without consulting you. 

If the majority of the nation be found in favor of any other Society, they 
have likewise the right to have it and as for my part, I will be perfectly satis- 
fied, when it will be given them. I will not mention the subject any more nor 
wish to have it mentioned by them. 

Major Chenaut told me last summer that the Government is bound in 
justice to give the Indians the missionaries of a Society for which the majority 
of the nation calls and also that the Society has the right that the mission 
should be entrusted to it. 98 

Major Coffey in his letter transmitting Bax's communication to 
Superintendent Mitchell expressed the opinion that while the half-breed 
Miami, being perhaps all Catholics, would no doubt prefer Catholic 

* 6 Mitchell to Brown, August i, 1849. 
97 Mitchell to De Smet, May, 1844. (H). 
" (H). 


missionaries, the full-blooded part of the nation, who were distinctly 
in the majority, had no preference as between the missionaries of the 
different denominations." Whether or not the matter was ever voted 
on by the tribe, as Father Bax suggested should be done, does not 
appear. In April, 1852, the father was still urging the reopening of 
the mission, having obtained Bishop Miege's approval for the step. 
"I received a letter of F. Bax dated 14 March," wrote De Smet to 
the vice-provincial, Father W. S. Murphy, "in which he expresses a 
great desire with the consent of B[isho]p. Miege, of recommencing 
the abandoned Mission among the Miami and that the Bp. had de- 
clared then that he would take that Mission if offered him by Govern- 
ment. This mission was formerly attended to, but without success, by 
FF. [Fathers] Truyens and Van Mierlo. I must add at the same time 
that the non-success was more to be attributed to the two FF. [Fathers] 
than to the Indians. Such was the opinion of Father Bax and others. 
This affair is to pass through the Agency of Col. Mitchell, Superin- 
tendent of Indian Affairs in St. Louis, and which I shall communicate 
to him at his return from Washington." 10 In the event the Catholic 
Miami mission for whatever reason was not reestablished. As a sequel 
to the whole episode it may be noted that in 1866 a number of Miami 
boys were received at the Potawatomi school of St. Mary's on the 
Kansas River, the Indian parents having frequently expressed a desire 
to send their children to that Catholic institution. 101 

99 (H). 

1<)0 De Smet to W. S. Murphy, April i, 1852. (A). 

101 "[Rev.] Mr. Ivo Schlact [Schacht]" having offered to take over the school 
in November, 1858, the Miami Indians signed a petition to be allowed to use the 
mission buildings at the Miami village "for a school to be conducted in accordance 
with the wishes of the Catholic population." (H). The "Miami have expressed a 
desire to send the older children of the nation to St. Mary's and to have the 
younger children educated at home." "The terms proposed by the Superintendent 
of St. Mary's are satisfactory to the nation." C. A. Colton (Osage River Agency, 
Paola) to Dole. (H). "The Kickapoo and Miami have frequently expressed their 
desire to send their children to the St. Mary's Mission school among the Pota- 
watomies. I understand that these tribes have a school fund for the education of 
their children, but no schools. (I am requested by the Superintendent of St. Mary's 
to know if the school funds of those tribes would be applied for the education of 
children sent.) The best way to learn English is to have children of the different 
tribes together, then they must speak a common language." Palmer to Cooley, 
March 7, 1 866. (H). C. C. Taylor, special agent of the Indian Office, reported 
July 5, 1866, that though the Miami had an education fund of fifty thousand dol- 
lars with accrued interest of seventy thousand dollars they were still without 
schools, though they had repeatedly asked for them. "This neglect is inexcusable." 
(H). Mapshinga, "first chief" of the Miami, was baptized at St. Mary's Mission 
in 1858. "He is a good sensible man. At every council of the nation he tried hard 
to get a Catholic school and Catholic missionaries. He is the only man of his tribe 
that has not fallen a victim to whiskey." Father Gailland in WL, 6: 73. 



The diocese of St. Louis from its erection in 1826 until 1843 not 
only reached as far as the Rocky Mountains but passed in some vague 
way at least beyond the Continental Divide into what was generally 
known as "the Oregon Country." l This latter area included within its 
limits what is now Oregon, Washington, Idaho and western Montana. 
Here was a spiritual jurisdiction of truly imperial range, extending 
as it did from east of the Mississippi, where it embraced the western 
moiety of the state of Illinois, to the Pacific Northwest. 2 As early as 
1811 or 1812 a group of Canadian trappers and traders, employees or 
ex-employees of the Hudson's Bay Company, were settled in the lower 
Columbia basin. 3 They were the pioneer Catholics of that region and 
as early as 1821 a petition for spiritual aid on their behalf was for- 
warded thence to Father Rosati, vicar-general of upper Louisiana. 4 
When the vicar-general was so shorthanded for help that parishes in 

1 "Oregon territory is that important part of North. America which extends from 
the 42nd to the 5Oth [? ] degree of N. latitude and from the Rocky Mountains to 
the Pacific Ocean. It is bounded on the north by the Russian possessions and on 
the south by California; forming a kind of parallelogram about seven hundred 
miles in length and five hundred in breadth and containing 375,000 miles." 
P. J. De Smet, Oregon Missions and Travels in the- Rocky Mountains in 1845- 
1846 (New York, 1847), P- H- 

2 Apparently Bishop Rosati considered the Oregon country as lying, partly at 
least, within the limits of his jurisdiction. De Smet and his associates received from 
him "faculties" or licenses to exercise the ministry in the country "beyond the 
Rocky Mountains" although in 1838 the Bishop of Quebec had begun to be repre- 
sented in the lower and even upper Columbia Valley by a vicar-general. It is 
conceivable that the faculties granted by Rosati were by delegation from the 
Bishop of Quebec. Still, Bishop Signay of Quebec in a letter of November 20, 
1840, distinguished between the American and the British possessions west of the 
Rockies, the former belonging ecclesiastically to St. Louis, the latter to Quebec. 
It is difficult to see how lines of jurisdiction could be drawn at this time on a 
political basis as the entire and undivided Oregon country prior to 1846 was held 
jointly by the United States and Great Britain. There was no such thing as distinct 
American and British possessions in Oregon before that date. 

8 CR, DeSmet, 1:23. 
4 Ann. Prop., I :(n. 2) 5 2. 



the neighborhood of St. Louis could not be adequately cared for, 
it was impossible for him to meet the wishes of the handful of Oregon 
Catholics by providing them with a pastor. Ten years later, in 1831, 
an incident occurred that again turned the attention of Rosati, now 
become Bishop of St. Louis, to the spiritual needs of distant Oregon. 
About October 17 of that year a party of four Indians of either the 
Flathead or Nez-Perce nation appeared in St. Louis, having according 
to a traditional account travelled all the way from their home in the 
upper Columbia Valley to ask for Catholic missionaries. The details of 
the incident were embodied by Bishop Rosati in a letter of December 
31, 1831, which appeared in the Annales He la Propagation d,e la Foi: 

Some three months ago four Indians who live across the Rocky Moun- 
tains near the Columbia river [Clark's Fork of the Columbia] arrived at 
St. Louis. After visiting General Clark, who, in his celebrated travels, has 
visited their nation and has been well treated by them, they came to see our 
church and appeared to be exceedingly well pleased with it. 5 Unfortunately, 
there was not one who understood their language. Some time afterwards two 
of them fell dangerously ill. I was then absent from St. Louis. 

Two of our priests visited them and the poor Indians seemed to be de- 
lighted with the visit. They made signs of the cross and other signs which 
appeared to have some relation to baptism. The sacrament was administered 
to them; they gave expressions of satisfaction. A little cross was presented 
to them. They took it with eagerness, kissed it repeatedly and it could be 
taken from them only after death. It was truly distressing that they could not 
be spoken to. Their remains were carried td the church and their funeral 
was conducted with all the Catholic ceremonies. 6 The other twq attended 
and acted very becomingly. We have since learned from a Canadian, who has 
crossed the country which they inhabit, that they belong to the nation of 
Flat-Heads, who, as also another called Black Feet, had received some notions 
of the Catholic religion from two Indians who had been to Canada and who 
had related what they had seen, giving a striking description of the beautiful 
ceremonies of the Catholic worship and telling them that it was also the 
religion of the whites. They have retained what they could of it, and they 
have learned to make the sign of the Cross and to pray. These nations have 

5 General William Clark, principal with Meriwether Lewis in the overland 
expedition of 1804-1806 to the Pacific and at this period (1831) superintendent 
of Indian affairs west of the Mississippi. His residence in St. Louis was at the south- 
east corner of Olive and Fifth Streets, the site being now marked by a memorial 
tablet affixed to the building of the National Bank of Commerce. The church 
visited by the Indians was Bishop Du Bourg's cathedral of brick on the west side 
of Second Street between Market and Walnut. 

6 One of the Indians, described in the Old Cathedral burial-register as "Kee- 
feellele ou Fife Bard du Nez Perce de la trilu de Chofoweek Nation afelle Tetes 
Plates age <P environ quarante ans" died October 31, 1831. The other, Paul, 
"satwage de la Nation des Teles Plates venant de la riviere Columbia au dela des 
Rocky Mountains? died November 7 following. 


not yet been corrupted by intercourse with others. Their manners and customs 
are simple and they are very numerous. Mr. Condamine [diocesan priest of 
the St. Louis Cathedral] has offered himself to go to them next spring with 
another priest. In the meantime we shall obtain some further information 
of what we have been told and of the means of travel. 7 

To explain how these Indians of the Northwest came by the knowl- 
edge they seemed to possess of the Catholic religion, one must turn to 
an episode in the history of the Iroquois Indians. It was this famous 
tribe that laid waste the Huron Mission of New France, and sent 
Lallemant, Brebeuf and other Jesuit priests to martyrdom. Yet from 
the beginning some fruits of conversion had been gathered among them, 
chiefly those o the Mohawk and Onondaga branches, and there were 
Catholic Iroquois settlements at Caughnawaga and other points before 
the close of the seventeenth century. About 1816 a party of twenty- four 
Iroquois went out from Caughnawaga on the south bank of the 
St. Lawrence a few miles above Montreal to seek a new home in the 
distant West. Their wanderings brought them into the country of the 
Flatheads in the upper reaches of the Columbia Valley immediately 
west of the main ridge of the Rocky Mountains. Here, finding them- 
selves welcome visitors, they settled down, intermarried with the Flat- 
heads and were adopted into the tribe. 8 

7 Tr. from Ann. Prop., in Lawrence Palladino, S.J., Indian and White In the 
"Northwest (2nd ed., Lancaster, Pa., 1922), p. u. The various Flathead deputa- 
tions to St. Louis are often confused. They were four in number and are cor- 
rectly stated by De Smet, CR, De Smet, 1:290. Cf. also Hubert H. Bancroft, 
History of Oregon (San Francisco, 1888), 1:54, 55. 

8 Palladino, of. cit., p. 8. The Iroquois probably arrived among the Flatheads 
later than 1814. According to Bishop Rosati's diary the two Flatheads of the 1839 
deputation reached the Flathead country from Canada in 1816. (SLCHR, 2: 188). 
Ross Cox, an employee of the Northwestern Fur Company, who was among the 
Flatheads early in that year and left an account of their religious beliefs in his 
Adventures on the Columbia River (New York, 1832), makes no mention of any 
acquaintance on their part with Christianity, though he comments with praise on 
their virtuous habits. Father Mengarini in an unpublished Italian ms. (Memoria 
delle Mission* delle Teste Piatte, 1848, 22 pp., AA) states that the Iroquois "who 
were called whites only because they spoke French" arrived among the Flatheads in 
1828. He says further that the first genuine whites to reach the Flatheads were 
Americans and these came in l8l2(?). Mengarini, though writing at a date when 
the events in question were no doubt fresh in the memory of the tribe, confuses 
the various Flathead deputations. But he supplies some interesting details not found 
in Palladino. He names three Iroquois, Big Ignace (Ignazio grande), Little Ignace, 
so called to distinguish him from the preceding, and Peter. Besides these there was 
an elderl7 Canadian, Jean Baptiste Gerve (Gervais), and a "Creole." "As soon as 
these [five] had acquired some knowledge of the Indian language, they undertook 
to tell them [the Flatheads] a thousand things about the ways of the country of the 
whites and gave them their first knowledge of the true God and of our holy reli- 


The Flathead or Salish tribe, the T8tes-<plats of the Canadian trap- 
pers and traders, belong to the widely extended linguistic family known 
as the Salishan, to which they gave their name. 9 At the dawn of the 
period of exploration tribes of Salishan stock occupied a territory that 
stretched from what is now western Montana across Idaho and Wash- 
ington into British Columbia. The Salish proper or Flatheads were once 

gion; then it was that the Flatheads began for the first time to distinguish right 
from wrong." (This last statement would seem to be at variance with Cox's testi- 
mony). Father Joset, complying with a request from the Jesuit General, Peter 
Beckx, wrote a narrative (not altogether accurate as regards the deputations to St. 
Louis) of the beginnings of the Rocky Mountain Missions. (Joset a Beckx, De- 
cember 29, 1868). "Elles sont un des fruits des missions de Pancienne Compagme" 
For details on the condition of the Flatheads before the arrival of the missionaries, 
cf. W. S. Lewis and P. C. Phillips (eds.), The Journal of John Work, a chief - 
trader of the Hudson's Bay Company, during his expedition from Vancouver to the 
Flatheads and Blackfeet of the Pacific Northwest (Cleveland, 1923). 

Catholic Iroquois Indians find occasional mention in church records of the 
pioneer period. A group of them emigrated from the Rocky Mountain region to 
the site of Kansas City, Missouri, where they settled in the district subsequently 
known as the West Bottoms. Of the thirteen baptisms administered by Father 
Benedict Roux on February 23, 1834, the first recorded in the history of Kansas 
City, two were of Iroquois-Flatheads (as the register describes them), Francis 
Sasson Essassinary and Louis Sasson Essassinary. Moreover, the earliest recorded 
marriage within the limits of what is now Kansas City, Missouri, July 18, 1836, 
Father Van Quickenborne being the officiating priest, was that of two Iroquois 
Indians (or mixed-bloods), Benjamin Lagautherie and Charlotte Gray. Cf. Garrag- 
han, Catholic Beginnings in Kansas City, Missouri (Chicago, 1919), pp. 67, 93. 
At the Kickapoo Mission Van Quickenborne was informed as early as 1836 of the 
Flathead desire for a Catholic priest. He wrote thence to some unknown corre- 
spondent: "In that country, so I am told, the Flathead nation, after receiving in- 
struction from a Canadian doctor, observes a number of Christian customs, for 
example the keeping holy of Sunday and the prescribed fasts and abstinences of 
the Church. They have asked for a Catholic priest to instruct them in religion. 
With them are also living a great number of Algonquins and Catholic Iroquois 
come from Canada. They have married in that country and would like to have 
their marriages blessed and their children baptized. In spring they come together 
in a sort of fair [rendezvous] to make purchases from one another for the whole 
year. Then they scatter to live in family-groups. Every year a steamboat leaves St. 
Louis to penetrate into the heart of these Mountains, taking only three months to 
make the journey up and down. We regard it as an indispensable duty to profit 
by this occasion to send some one of Ours to encourage these good dispositions, until 

such time as we can do more in their behalf." Van Quickenborne a , Oct. 

4, 1836. (AA). 

9 Other Salishan tribes who figure in the history of the Rocky Mountain Mis- 
sions are the Spokan (Zingomenes) and Kalispels, the latter popularly known as 
the Pend d'Oreilles ("Ear Drops"), both closely allied to the Flatheads and speak- 
ing practically the same language; the Coeur d'Alenes (Awl-Hearts or Pointed 
Hearts) ; Okinagans, Sanpoil (Sinpoil) , Shuswaps (Shush wap) , and the Colville 
or Kettle Fall (Chaudiere) Indians. 


an influential tribe in the present western Montana, settled chiefly 
around Flathead Lake and along the Flathead and Bitter Root Valleys. 
Lewis and Clark, who passed through their country in 1 805 and again 
in 1806, estimated their population at six hundred 5 but in 1853 this 
number had dwindled to three hundred. 10 Strangely enough, the Flat- 
heads did not practice the peculiar artificial deformation from which 
they take their name, though the custom was in vogue among the tribes 
further west, especially the Chinooks. 11 One may read in Irving's 
Astoria an account of the method employed by the Chinook Indians 
in flattening their children's heads. 12 How the tribe officially known 
as the Flatheads came to have the epithet applied to them without 
any apparent foundation in fact has never been satisfactorily explained. 
It has been conjectured that it was "given to them by their neighbors 
not because they artificially deformed their heads, but because, unlike 
most tribes farther west, they left them in their natural condition, flat 
on top." Again, it has been suggested that the name was bestowed upon 
them by the first Canadian visitors for the reason that slaves from the 
Pacific coast with flattened heads were found among them. 

Prior even to the coming of the missionaries the Flatheads had. 
made a remarkable advance in ethical perception and practice. An 
interesting . glimpse into conditions in the tribe as far back as 1814 
is afforded by the narrative of Ross Cox, who was impressed by its 
comparative freedom from the ordinary vices of Indian life. 33 It thus 
gave promise of a ready acceptance of the gospel message as soon as it 
should come within its reach. The message came with the arrival among 
the Flatheads about 1816 of the above-mentioned party of Christian 
Iroquois from Canada. The leader of this party, according to a well- 
authenticated Flathead account, was Ignace La Mousse, called also Big 
or Old Ignace, to distinguish him from a younger Indian of the same 
name who also finds mention in Flathead history. Ignace La Mousse 
gave the Flatheads their first notions of Catholic belief and practice. 
He repeatedly went over with them the leading points of Catholic 
doctrine and taught them to say the Lord's Prayer, make the sign 
of the Cross, baptize their children and sanctify the Sunday. 14 The 

10 Frederick Webb Hodge, Handbook of American Indians (Bureau of Ameri- 
can Ethnology, Washington, 1912), 2:4.15, art. "Salish." 

11 Hodge, of. tit., 2:465, art. "Flathead"; Cox, of. cif., Chap. XL 

12 Washington Irving, Astoria, or Anecdotes of an Enterprise beyond the Rocky 
Mountains (Philadelphia, 1836), Chap. VIII. 

18 Cox, of. cit., p. 127 F. Cox went to Oregon in 1811 to enter the service 
of the Astors. He was subsequently connected with the Pacific Fur Company and 
the Northwest Fur Company. Washington Irving in his Astoria drew largely on 
Cox's narrative. Cf . also Bancroft, Oregon, 1 : 1 1 6. 

1 *Palladino, of. cit., p. 9. Cf., however, note 15. Father Ferdinand Helias, 


Indians took up his teaching with eagerness and made earnest efforts 
to put it into practice. Upon one point Ignace was particularly insistent, 
the urgency of having black-robes in their midst to teach them the 
white man's prayer. The result was that a quest for Catholic priests 
to bring among them the blessings of the religion they had learned 
about from their Iroquois instructor was eagerly taken up by the Flat- 
heads. 15 

who met Old Ignace in St. Louis in 1835, witnesses to his accurate knowledge of 
the catechism. Chittenden and Richardson (De Smet, i : 20) note the likelihood 
that the Flatheads in their intercourse with the Canadian half-breed traders and 
trappers, who were all Catholics, at least nominally so, had received from the latter 
their first knowledge of the Catholic Church. This view is also the one adopted by 
Clinton A. Snowden, History of Washington: the Rise and Progress of an Ameri- 
can State (New York, 1909), 2:95. "The instruction given these people [Nez 
Perces at Walla Walla] by Pambrun is therefore quite sufficient to account for the 
visit of their representative to St. Louis. But whether this famous delegation was 
prompted to go east in search of religious light as all other seekers for it have 
done by the teachings of Pambrun or by the visit of "Old Ignace," it is reason- 
ably clear that it was by the teaching of some Catholic or by suggestion of some 
one who was familiar with the Catholic form of worship. They habitually sought 
for robed priests and the ceremonies which had been described to them and 
readily recognized them when they saw them." In view of Mengarini's explicit 
statement resting on the testimony of the eye-witness, J. B. Gervais, there would 
seem to be no doubt that Old Ignace was the first religious teacher of the Flatheads. 
15 Palladino, of. cit., p. 9. Whether Ignace La Mousse was the Ignace Shono- 
wane of living's Astoria (C. XII) does not appear. Father Mengarini's Italian 
memoir of 1848 contains the earliest version (apart from De Smet's brief notice) 
which we possess of the traditional account, which he obtained by word of mouth 
from contemporary witnesses, especially J. B. Gervais. The memoir, which is not 
free from inaccuracies, has these particulars about Big Ignace: "Big Ignace especially 
may be considered to be the first whom God made use of to dissipate the thick 
darkness which up to that time had enveloped the minds of our Indians. His 
words, rcenforccd by very virtuous behavior (this latter being a thing quite difficult, 
I should almost say impossible to find among whites who live with the Indians), 
made a breach in the hearts of several, especially among the older ones, who spent 
not only days but sometimes entire nights in the tent of this precursor, as I may 
call him, in order to hear him talk of God, religion and especially baptism. Then 
it was that the Flatheads heard of certain white men clothed in black whose prac- 
tice it was to instruct people, bring them to know God and all good things, and 
enable them to live after death. Every time he spoke to the Indians (so old Gerve 
[Gervais] told me recently), he would finish by saying c what I tell you is nothing 
compared with what the black-robes (robe nere) know.' Ignace would not teach 
the Indians any prayers, as he was asked to do, for fear, as he said c of changing 
the word of God.' [Palladino, p. 9, says the contrary.] Asked one day 'Why don't 
the black-robes come here,' Ignace replied, 'You must go and find them.' " Then 
turning to old Peter, principal Flathead chief, who died in 1841, Ignace petitioned 
him to send some of his nation to St. Louis for priests. This was done in the 
spring of 1831, the party consisting, according to Mengarini, of four Flatheads 
and two Ncz Forces. At Independence two Flatheads and the two Nez Perec's dicdj 


To return, now, to the visit to St. Louis in 1831 of the party of 
Indians from the Northwest. An account current among the Flatheads 
represents them to have been a deputation from this tribe, who, at the 
instance of Old Ignace, had commissioned four of their number to 
undertake the perilous journey to obtain a Catholic priest. This version 
of the incident, resting apparently on a solid basis of Flathead tribal 
tradition cannot easily be set aside. On the other hand, there are indi- 
cations that the Indians in question were not Flatheads at all but Nez 
Perces. 16 Two of the party, it will be recalled, died in St. Louis. 
The burial record of one of the two who died in St. Louis describes him 
as a "Nez Perce of the Chopoweek tribe called the Flathead nation." 
Moreover, William Walker, an educated Wyandot Indian, who, how- 
ever, does not appear to have been in St. Louis at the time of the Indians' 
visit, though the contrary has been stated, but obtained his information 
about them at secondhand, described them as actually having flattened 
heads, a practice unknown among the Flathead or Salish tribe, though 
found to some extent among the Nez Perces. A third account represents 
the deputation as having come under a joint commission from Flatheads 
and Nez Perces together. The Nez Perces, it may be noted, were neigh- 
bors of the Flatheads, with whom they often came into contact. They 
are the main tribe of the Shapatian stock of Indians and were known in 
early times as the Chopunish or Shapatians. As in the case of the Flat- 
heads, the name they bear is a misnomer, for the practice, common 
among some other Indian tribes, of piercing the nose to insert a piece of 
dentalium did not, as far as is known, obtain among them. 17 

What became of the two surviving members of the party of 1831 
and whether they ever reached their home beyond the Rockies has 
never been ascertained. 18 Inquiries made later on among the Flat- 
heads failed to elicit any information concerning them. As to the whole 
affair, one thing seems reasonably certain. On the supposition that 
the four Indians came to St. Louis to ask for missionaries, they must 
have had in view Catholic ones and not those of any other denomina- 

the rest returned in discouragement. These latter particulars are not accurately stated, 
as the deputation of 1831 or a part of it reached St. Louis. 

16 "A letter written by one H. McAllister of St. Louis, April 17, 1833, in 
reference to this deputation [of 1831] states that it was c from the Chopunnish 
tribe, residing on Lewis River, above and below the mouth of the Koos-koos-ka 
(Clearwater) river and a small band of Flatheads that live with them.' This infor- 
mation was apparently derived from General Clark. There are other authorities 
to the same end. The question is, therefore, a doubtful one as to who these Indians 
really were with the weight of evidence in favor of the Nez Perce identity, 
instead of the Flatheads of Father De Smet." CR, De Smet, i: 23. 

17 Hodge, of. <?*/., 2:65, art. "Nez Perces." Francis Haines, "The Nez Perce 
Delegation to St. Louis in 1831," Pacific Historical Review ', 6: 71 -7 8 (1937). 

18 The point is discussed in CR, De Smet, i: 24. Cf. also sufra, note 15. 


tion. The death of two of their number under the circumstances nar- 
rated in Bishop Rosati's letter points to some previous acquaintance on 
their part with Catholic belief. Moreover, Catholicism was the only 
form of Christianity they could possibly have become acquainted with 
in their native habitat, whether we suppose them to have been Flat- 
heads or Nez Perces. The only white people they freely came in con- 
tact with were Canadian trappers and traders, such as Nicholas Pam- 
brun at Fort Walla Walla, and these were all Catholics, at least in 
name. Moreover, as has been seen, Iroquois Indians or half-breeds from 
Canada brought among the Flatheads a knowledge of Catholic belief 
and practice and this knowledge could easily have been communicated 
to the near-by Nez Perces. As to clergymen, whether Catholic or 
Protestant, none at this date, 1831, had as yet set foot in either the 
Flathead or Nez Perce country. All the circumstances indicate, there- 
fore, that the expedition of Rocky Mountain Indians to St. Louis in 
1831, as far as one may suppose it to have had any religious purpose 
at all, was motivated by a desire to secure Catholic missionaries. 19 

19 For further details on the Indian expedition of 1831 to St. Louis, cf . the 
following: (l) Palladino, S.J., of. tit. The traditional and apparently trustworthy 
Catholic version put on record by one who knew the Flatheads by long and intimate 
contact in the capacity of missionary, Francis Saxa, eldest son of Old Ignace and 
well known to Palladino, having no doubt been one of his informants. (2) Chitten- 
den and Richardson, De Smet, i: 22-28. A scholarly discussion tending to support 
the Catholic side of the question and presenting evidence from non-Catholic 
sources not to be found in Palladino. (3) Edward Mallet, "The Origin of the 
Flathead Mission of the Rocky Mountains," RACHS, 2: 174-205. A careful and 
well documented treatment reaching the conclusion that the deputation of 1831 
was not motivated by religious considerations but had a commercial or other secular 
purpose behind it. (4) John Rothensteiner, "The Flathead and Nez Perce Dele- 
gation to St. Louis," in SLCHR, 2: 183 et seq. A thoroughgoing analysis of the 
conflicting evidence bearing on the subject, the author establishing on a sound basis 
the religious character of the delegation of 1831, as having for its object the pro- 
curing of Catholic priests. Two important testimonies cited by the author in sup- 
port of his conclusion are those of Marcus Whitman and Gen. William Clark, 
superintendent of Indian affairs, St, Louis. Whitman in his journal of 1835 
witnesses that the Indians came to St. Louis in 1831 "to gain a knowledge of the 
Christian religion, as I received it from the traders under whose protection they 
came and returned. He says their object was to gain religious knowledge. For this 
purpose the Flathead tribe delegated one of their principal chiefs and two of their 
principal men, and the Nez Perce tribe a like delegation, it being a joint delegation 
of both tribes." General Clark's account is contained in a letter of E. W. Sehon, a 
St. Louis resident, reproduced in Bashford, The Oregon Missions, p. 13. "General 
Clark informed me ... that the cause of the visit of the Indians was: Two of 
their number had received an education at some Jesuitical School in Montreal, 
Canada; and had returned to the tribe and endeavored, as far as possible, to instruct 
their brethren how the whites approached the Great Spirit. A spirit of enquiry was 
aroused, a deputation was appointed and a tedious journey of three thousand miles 


And yet by a curious issue of events a Protestant character was 
eventually given to the incident of 1831 with the result that a wave 
of non-Catholic missionary enterprise was soon set up in the direction 
of the Rocky Mountains. In the Christian Advocate of New York 
appeared under date of February 18, 1833, a letter from G. P. Disoway 
enclosing another from William Walker, the Wyandot interpreter, 
describing his alleged meeting with the Rocky Mountain Indians 
in November, 1831. Further correspondence on the subject appeared 
in the same journal, which was soon sending out fervid appeals to the 
Protestant religious world to dispatch missionaries to the benighted 
savages of Oregon. The form which the incident of 1831 now took in 
the Protestant press was that the Indians had come to St. Louis in 
search of the Bible, the "White Man's Book," which, to their great 
disappointment, they failed to find. In this connection there grew up 
a myth that on the eve of their departure from St. Louis the two 
surviving members of the party were given a banquet, at which one of 
them made an address deploring their failure to meet with the coveted 
booL The story was given wide currency in the Protestant press of 
the country though no trace of evidence for the genuineness of the 
address has ever been produced. 20 The fanciful oration, cleverly de- 
vised with a view to stimulate Protestant support for missionary enter- 
prise beyond the Rockies, had its desired effect. Of its two paragraphs 
the second ran as follows: 

My people sent me to get the "White Man's Book of Heaven." You took 
me to where you allow your women to dance as we do not ours and the 
book was not there. You took me to where they worship the Great Spirit with 
candles and the book was not there. You showed me images of the good 
spirits and the pictures of the good home beyond, but the book was not among 
them to tell us the way. I am going back the long and sad trail to my people 
in the dark land. You make my feet heavy with gifts and my moccasins will 

was performed to learn for themselves of Jesus and Him crucified." (5) Cf. also 
Archer B. Hulbert, "Undeveloped Factors in the Life of Marcus Whitman," in 
James F. Willard and Colin B. Goodykoontz (eds.), The Tnms-Mississiffi West, 
(Boulder, Colo., 1930), p. 90. "[Rev. Samuel Parker's] Journal states that the 
so-called Tour Wise Men of the West' were not commissioned by their tribes to 
go to St. Louis for a 'Book,' but went out of curiosity. This important piece of 
information was received direct from the Nez Perces. It was omitted from the 
published volume [italics Hulbert's own]." A. B. Hulbert discusses the topic 
further in The Oregon Crusade: Across Land and Sea to Oregon (Stewart Com- 
mission of Colorado College and the Denver Public Library, 1935), p. 87 et seq. 
20 "It is said upon the questionable authority of Rev. H. H. Spalding, who went 
to Oregon with Marcus Whitman, that a clerk of the American Fur Company in 
St. Louis overheard the speech and wrote it up and sent it to his friends in Pitts- 
burgh." CR, De Smet, i : 24. 


grow old in carrying them, yet the book is not among them. When I tell my 
poor blind people after we have snow, in the big council, that I did not bring 
the book, no word will be spoken by our old men or by our young braves. 
One by one they will rise up and go out in silence. My people will die in 
darkness and they will go a long path to other hunting grounds. No white 
man will go with them and no White Man's Book to make the way plain. 
I have no more words. 21 

In 1834, the year after the call for missionary aid to the Rocky 
Mountain tribes was first sounded in the columns of the Christian 
Advocate of New York ? the Methodists sent out two missionaries^ Jason 
and Daniel Lee, who arrived in the Flathead country, but without 
making a settlement there, as they proposed to do. This change of 
plan was occasioned by the reluctance of the Flatheads to accept Prot- 
estant missionaries in lieu of Catholic ones. 22 The Lees, proceeding 
further West, opened a mission among the Canadians on the Willa- 
mette. They were followed in 1835 by Reverend Samuel Parker and 
Marcus Whitman, who were commissioned by the Presbyterian Board 
of Missions to investigate the prospects offered by the new missionary 
field in the Pacific Northwest. 23 At the Green River rendezvous Whit- 
man turned back to carry to the board a report recommending the 
immediate dispatch of missionaries. In the following year, Whitman, 
who was a physician, and the Rev. H. H. Spalding, both of them ac- 
companied by their wives, started from the East for Oregon. Dr. 
Whitman took up his residence among the Cayuse at Waiilatpu near 
the Walla Walla River while Spalding established himself among the 
Nez Perces at Lapwai. These non-Catholic missions among the Oregon 
Indians failed to realize the hopes entertained by their founders and 
were subsequently suspended. 

The historic visit of the Flathead or Nez Perce Indians to St. 

21 CR, De Smet, 1:25. 

22 Palladino, of. cit., pp. 21, 22. Daniel Lee and Joseph H. Frost, Ten Years 
in Oregon (1844), p. 127, give other reasons for the failure of the Lees to take 
up work among the Flatheads. "Subsequent inquiries had furnished reasons to the 
missionaries that could not justify any attempt to commence among them [the 
Flatheads]. First, the means of subsistence in a region so remote and difficult of 
access were, to say the least, very difficult. Second, the smallness of their number. 
Third, the vicinity of the Black Feet, as well the white men's enemies as theirs, 
and who would fall upon the abettors of their foes with signal revenge. Fourth, a 
larger field of usefulness was contemplated as the object of the mission than the 
benefiting of a single tribe." 

28 Cf. Edward G. Bourne, Essays in Historical Criticism' (New Haven, 1913) j 
William Marshall, Acquisition of Oregon and the Long Suppressed Evidence about 
Marcus Whitman, 1911; Archer B. Hulbert, "Undeveloped Factors in the Life of 
Marcus Whitman," in The Trans-Mississippi West, 87-102. 


Louis in 1831 had therefore for its direct result the establishment of 
Protestant missions in Oregon. It led to no immediate outcome on 
the Catholic side, though Father Matthew Condamine of the St. Louis 
cathedral had offered his services to Bishop Rosati for missionary work 
among the Flatheads. As to the St. Louis Jesuits, there is no evidence 
of any attempt having been made to engage their missionary services 
on this occasion. If such attempt were actually made, one can under- 
stand how it met with no success. The number of fathers available for 
the various activities of the Missouri Mission fell altogether below 
actual needs especially since the opening of the new St. Louis College 
in 1829. Hence, for the moment, distant missionary enterprise was not 
to be thought of. But the second deputation of Rocky Mountain Indians 
to St. Louis, that of 1835, brought the Jesuits distinctly into the move- 
ment. The two outstanding features of this deputation were that it 
certainly came from the Flatheads and that its avowed object was to 
procure Catholic priests. 

When Dr. Whitman and the Rev. Samuel Parker arrived at the 
Green River rendezvous in 1835, they were met by a Flathead chief, 
Michael Insula, who had been deputed by his people to go forward 
and give the expected clergymen welcome. On finding these to be 
Protestant missionaries instead of the Catholic black-gowns he had 
expected to meet, Insula returned in great disappointment to his tribe. 24 
The Flatheads now determined to send an agent to St. Louis who 
could plead in person with the Catholic ecclesiastical authorities for the 
favor of a priest. Their choice for the commission fell on Old Ignace, 
the Iroquois Indian who had given them their first lessons in Chris- 
tianity. Ignace, who seems to have volunteered for the perilous com- 
mission, journeyed to St. Louis in the fall of 1835 without other 
company than that of his two little sons. The sons were baptized 
December 2 of the same year by Father Ferdinand Helias, S.J., who 
relates the incident in an autobiographical memoir: 

At this juncture there arrived from the ends of the continent, from be- 
yond the Rocky Mountains, from the country of the Pacific coast, an Iroquois 
with his sons, whom he wished to have instructed and baptized by our Fathers. 
This Indian ambassador from seven savage nations was very tall of stature 
and of grave, modest and refined deportment. Father Helias instructed the 
two sons, one 14, the other 10 years of age, who were of handsome figure 
and very intelligent. They understood a little French and their father, who 
was perfectly instructed, served them as interpreter. Their own language was 
that of the Flathead nation, their mother being of this tribe. She was married 

24 Palladino, of. cit. y p. 22. Parker in his journal (Auburn, 1846, pp. 81, 82) 
gives a different version of the reception accorded the Protestant missionaries at 
Green River. 


to their father Ignace Petrui according to the manner and rite of the Flathead 
nation. Father Helias baptized them in our chapel in the presence of Rev. 
Father P. J. Verhaegen, Rector of the College, and the professors Van 
Sweevelt and Pin, Father Isidore Boudreaux, then a student of the Univer- 
sity, acting as god-father. They received the sacrament of regeneration with 
much devotion, their father on his knees in tears ... at the father's request 
he [Helias] had given the name Charles to the older of the two and Francis 
Xavier to the other. The two youths were then brought to the refectory, 
while Father Helias remained alone in the church with Ignace, who con- 
fessed to him and edified him greatly by the fervent devotion with which 
he adored on his knees the Holy Sacrament of the Altar. He told Father 
Helias there were seven nations who had asked him to bring them a priest, 
namely, the Flatheads, Onaperse [Nez Perces], Pantheres [ ? ] , Cottonais 
[Kutenai], Lespokans [Spokan], Cajous [Cayuse], Ochazeres[?], in all 
about 6000 souls. Having partaken of a frugal meal, and carrying with them 
a load of presents from Father Rector, and a rosary and a medal from Father 
Helias, they returned to Liberty, Missouri, on the frontier of the state, where 
they counted on spending the winter with their [own] people[?]. He was 
very anxious to leave the two boys at college. Father Helias would very will- 
ingly have lodged them in his own room, but Father Rector did not think 
himself authorized to grant this favor. He [Ignace] offered Father Helias a 
dollar, which being refused, he made the same offer to Father Rector and 
with like result. Then, having earnestly recommended himself to our prayers 
and sacrifices, he took affectionate leave of the fathers, walking modestly out 
of the house without stopping through curiosity to look at anything on the 
way. This gave great edification to the students of the college. 25 

Thus no priest accompanied Old Ignace when he left St. Louis with 
his two sons to return to his distant Rocky Mountain home. 26 Hi$ 
mission, beyond a promise received that a black-robe would be sent 
to the Flatheads if circumstances permitted, had been without success. 
Months passed and found the expectant Indians still disappointed. A 
fresh deputation to St. Louis was finally determined upon and dis- 
patched in 1837. At its head went Old Ignace again, this time accom- 
panied by three Flatheads and one Nez Perce. At Fort Laramie they 
were joined by a party of white men travelling east, one of them a 
lay helper in the Protestant missions, W. H. Grey, who was returning 
from Oregon. On reaching Ash Hollow on the North Platte, they 
met a band of hostile Sioux, who immediately attacked them. The 
whites were ordered to stand aside, as the Sioux had no intention of 
molesting them. Old Ignace, attired in civilized garb, was not recog- 
nized as an Indian and was ordered, accordingly, to stand off with the 

26 Memoir es du R.P. Ferdinand Helias d'Huddeghem. (A). 
26 One of the two sons, Francis Saxa (i.e. Iroquois) or La Mousse, was living 
as late as 1903 on his ranch near Arlee, Montana. 


whites. This he refused to do as he was unwilling to abandon his 
Indian companions of the deputation. Sharing in the resistance they 
made to the Sioux attack, he was with the three Flatheads and the Nez 
Perce massacred on the spot. Thus perished by what one may fairly 
regard as a martyr's death Old Ignace, the Iroquois who had sown the 
seeds of Catholic faith among the Flatheads and merits accordingly the 
name of the Apostle of that tribe. 27 

In the summer of 1839 a fourth and final attempt was made by 
the Flatheads to obtain a Catholic priest. In a tribal council two young 
warriors, Pierre Gauche or Left-handed and Young Ignace, rose to 
their feet and offered to discharge the hazardous mission. The offer 
accepted, they travelled to St. Louis in company with a party of trap- 
pers apparently by way of the Yellowstone and Missouri Rivers. De- 
scending the Missouri, they passed by the Jesuit Potawatomi mission 
at Council Bluffs, where they made the acquaintance of Father De Smet, 
the man who in the designs of Providence was to realize the long- 
standing desire of the Flatheads for Catholic priests. They then con- 
tinued their journey to St. Louis, which they reached in safety. Here 
they succeeded in interesting Bishop Rosati and the Jesuits in the object 
of their visit. Assured that a missionary would be sent out to the 
Rocky Mountains the following spring, they began their return jour- 
ney from St. Louis on October 20, 1839. Young Ignace halted at 
Westport to await the arrival of the promised missionary, while Pierre 
Gauche, journeying on all through the winter, arrived among the 
Flatheads in the spring of 1840 and announced to them the tidings 
of the coming of the black-robe. 


On the day which followed the departure of the Indians from St. 
Louis for their Rocky Mountain home Father Verhaegen wrote to 
Bishop Rosati: 

The two Indians from the Mountains have no doubt contributed to make 
your return to our midst pleasant and consoling. They have come from so 
great a distance to beg for aid, which I cannot give with our slender per- 
sonnel. This circumstance, Monseigneur, might furnish you an occasion for 

27 Palladino, of. tit. Father Mengarini in his memoir on the Flatheads written 
in 1848 gives further details of the death of Old Ignace. (AA). He adds the 
circumstance, not found in other accounts, that the American members of the party, 
on being questioned by the Sioux as to the identity of the Indians, replied that 
they were Snakes, not knowing that these were mortal enemies of the Sioux. Cf . 
also CR, De Smet, p. 29. Father De Smet learned the particulars of Old Ignace's 
death from traders at Fort Laramie. 


addressing to our Very Rev. Father General a letter recommending to him 
the nations who dwell on the banks of the Columbia and who were formerly 
evangelized by our Fathers, whose memory they preserve. 28 

The letter which Rosati in compliance with Verhaegen's request 
addressed to the Jesuit General, John Roothaan, ran as follows: 

Eight or nine years ago [1831] some of the Flat-Head nation came to 
St. Louis. The object of their journey was to ascertain if the religion spoken 
of with so much praise by the Iroquois warriors was in reality such as was 
represented, and above all if the nations that have white skin had adopted 
and practised it. Soon after their arrival in St. Louis they fell sick (two of 
them), called for a priest and earnestly asked to be baptized. Their request 
was promptly granted and they received holy baptism with great devotion. 
Then holding the crucifix they covered it with affectionate kisses and expired. 

Some years after [1835] the Flat-Head nation sent again one of the 
Iroquois nation [Old Ignace] to St. Louis. There he came with two of his 
children, who were instructed and baptized by the Fathers of the College. 
He asked missionaries for his countrymen and started [back] with the hope 
that one day the desire of the nation would be accomplished, but on his 
journey he was killed by the infidel Indians of the Sioux nation. 29 

At last a third expedition [Left-handed Peter and Young Ignace] 
arrived at St. Louis, after a voyage of three months. It was composed of two 
Christian Iroquois. Those Indians, who talk French, have edified us by their 
truly examplary conduct and interested us by their discourses. The Fathers 
of the College have heard their confessions and today they approached the 
holy table at high Mass in the Cathedral church. Afterwards I administered 
to them the sacrament of Confirmation and in an address delivered after the 
ceremony I rejoiced with them at their happiness and gave them the hope to 
have soon a priest. 30 

They will depart tomorrow; one of them will carry the good news 
promptly to the Flatheads; the other will spend the winter at the mouth 
of Bear River, and in the spring he will continue his journey with the mis- 
sionary whom we will send them. Of the twenty-four Iroquois who formerly 
emigrated from Canada, only four are still living. Not only have they planted 
the faith in those wild countries, but they have besides defended it against the 
encroachments of the Protestant ministers. When these pretended missionaries 
presented themselves among them, our good Catholics refused to accept them. 
"These are not the priests about whom we have spoken to you," they would 
say to the Flatheads, "these are not the long black-robed priests who have 

28 Verhaegen a Rosati, Oct. 21, 1839. (C). Verhaegen's reference to the 
Columbia River Indians as having been evangelized by Jesuit missionaries was true 
only of the Iroquois. 

29 Incorrect. Old Ignace was killed on his way to St. Louis in 1837. 

80 The Old Cathedral of St. Louis on Walnut between Second and Third 
Streets is still standing. 


no wives, who say Mass, who carry the crucifix with them!" For the love of 
God, my Very Reverend Father, do not abandon these souls! 31 

Father Verhaegen's own letter to the General on this occasion was 
an earnest plea for help with which to seize the great missionary oppor- 
tunity now at hand: 

I was visited very recently by two Iroquois Indians of a group who have 
joined the Flatheads and four other tribes and now reside with them on the 
banks of the Columbia River. . . . One of them carried about with him a 
little printed book in his own language which was got out by the enterprise 
of a certain priest. 32 From this book he sang for us, and very well too, a num- 
ber of sacred songs. Both made confession of their sins to one of our Fathers 
in French, as they were able to do, and on the same day on which they 
received Holy Communion from our Right Reverend Bishop they were 
strengthened in the faith by the reception in the Cathedral of the Sacrament 
of Confirmation. What I had very often heard from others these good men 
corroborated, namely, that the Indians dwelling beyond the Rocky Mountains 
are well affected towards our holy religion and could with little trouble be 
brought within the bosom of the Church. Considering the very great scarcity 
of priests among us I scarcely knew what to answer. Finally, after weighing 
the matter carefully and asking the opinion of the consultors, I promised them 
that next spring two Fathers would undertake a journey to that distant region 
in order to dwell for a space at least among those nations cultivated of old 
by our Fathers and bring them the aid they so sorely need. One of them 
immediately left to carry the glad tidings to his people; the other [Young 
Ignace] will pass the winter near Fort Leavenworth where he will await the 
coming of the Fathers, He will receive them on their arrival there by steam- 
boat and will conduct them to a spot agreed upon where the other one has 
promised to be at hand at a designated time with a band of young warriors. 
I am desirous therefore to know of your Paternity what he wishes done by us 
on behalf of those poor creatures. 83 

Writing at the end of 1839, Father Roothaan informed Verhaegen 
that he had already replied to the communication from the Bishop of 
St. Louis, assuring him he would make efforts to send the spiritual 
relief petitioned for. "Perhaps," so he wrote, "there are Fathers among 
you much better fitted to go on such an expedition than those who re- 
cently came to you from Europe." 34 As a matter of fact there was no 
lack of volunteers at St. Louis for the new missionary venture. Father 
Van de Velde, procurator of the Missouri Vice-province, as also Father 

31 Tr. in Palladino (p. 28), from Ann. Prof. Though dated a day before 
Vernaegen's letter, it was apparently" written to carry out the latter's previous request. 

32 The rayer-boolc was probably of Canadian origin. 

33 Verhaegen ad Roothaan, November 8, 1839. (AA). 
84 Roothaan ad Verhaegen, December 26, 1839 (AA). 


Elet, rector of St. Louis University, had offered their services directly 
to the General. "Your Reverence's desire of going to this new mission 
of the Rocky Mountains," Father Roothaan replied to Van de Velde, 
"pleases me greatly, nor have I anything against it, if only the busi- 
ness accounts of your Vice-Province permit it." 35 The petition of Van 
de Velde was all the more significant that a few years later, when vice- 
provincial of Missouri, he was thought by De Smet to be lacking in 
sympathy for the Indian missions. Elet's appeal to the General was in 
characteristic vein. "Ever since the visit of the two Iroquois," he de- 
clared, "I began to be inflamed with my old desire of twelve years' 
standing, which weak health had indeed repressed but not extinguished, 
the desire, namely, of laboring for the salvation of the Indians. Having 
resorted to the method of election and to meditation on the rules for 
the discernment of spirits, in order that I might ascertain the divine 
will, I came to the conclusion that God's Spirit is moving me. 36 Your 
Paternity has no lack of men to supply my place in the University, 
especially since nearly everything here is now ordered according to 
the standards of our Society. Let your Paternity call to mind the diffi- 
culties we labored under in the beginning of the Mission and what 
things we endeavored to bear with patience through the heat and 
burden of the day, and so deign to accede to my request." S7 In the 
event neither Van de Velde nor Elet was to realize his desire for 
missionary service among the Indians. 

Meantime, the appeal of the Bishop of St. Louis for missionaries 
to evangelize the Flatheads was being circulated in the Jesuit com- 
munities of Rome. Read in the refectory of the Roman College, it 
inspired Father Gregory Mengarini to offer himself to the Father 
General for the Rocky Mountain Mission. Father Roothaan's answer 
to Bishop Rosati assuring him of his willingness to furnish recruits for 
the new enterprise reached St. Louis in the course of 1840. But even 
before its arrival Verhaegen had taken steps towards the actual assign- 
ment of missionaries to the Flatheads. In November, 1839, the scholas- 
tics Duerinck and Van Mierlo were instructed to dispatch their theo- 
logical studies in haste so as to be in readiness for ordination at an 
early date, after which they were to set out for the Rocky Mountains. 38 
This choice was subsequently rescinded in favor of Father De Smet, 
who had been associated with Father Verreydt at the Potawatomi Mis- 

85 Roothaan ad Van de Velde, May 12, 1840. (AA). 

86 The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius contain certain so-called "methods of 
election" and "rules for the discernment of spirits" which enable one to come to 
a correct decision in matters of importance affecting one's spiritual interests. 

87 Elet ad Roothaan, November 19, 1839. (AA). 

88 Liber Consultationum Missionis Missourianae. (A) . 


sion of Council Bluffs since June, 1838. Ever since the Indians passed 
by Council Bluffs on their way to St. Louis De Smet had been cherish- 
ing the hope that the choice of a missionary for the Flatheads would 
fall on him. Without waiting for instructions from St. Louis, he at last 
decided, with a view, it would seem, to receiving some needed medical 
attention, to descend from Council Bluffs to that city, where he arrived 
the last day of February, 1840, after a journey replete with hazards 
and hardships. 39 He now received instructions from his superior to 
start out at the opening of spring for the Rocky Mountain country 
in order to ascertain the prospects held out for a permanent mission 
in that remote quarter. 

In the houses of the Missouri Mission this initial effort of the 
Society of Jesus to get in touch with the Rocky Mountain tribes, around 
whom a certain atmosphere of holy romance had now begun to gather, 
awakened the liveliest interest. The house-chronicler at the novitiate 
records a visit which De Smet paid to its community on March 19. 

We were privileged to have again in our midst that strenuous worker, 
Father De Smet, so that we might bid him goodbye, not, however, for the last 
time, as far as the novices are concerned, for they hope to obtain permission 
some day to go to the Rocky Mountains. The Father entered into a contract 
with our Reverend Father Rector and through him with the entire com- 
munity, by the terms of which the priests are to say a Mass every week for 
him and his new mission, while two of the scholastics are to recite the rosary 
every day for the same intention. He, on his part, has pledged us, not vocal 
prayers, but a share in the fruit of his hard labors and a recompense in heaven. 
The contract was mutually sealed by the religious embrace. 40 

Eight days later, March 27, 1 840, De Smet set out from St. Louis 
University on his first trip to the Rockies. The University diarist is 
stirred with emotion as he records the event. "The day eagerly desired 
of the Indians that dwell beyond the Rocky Mountains has dawned 
at last! For today Rev. Father De Smet departed alone to carry to 
them the light of faith and announce to them the way of salvation. . . . 
Fortunate Indians! Thrice fortunate Father to be chosen by God from 
all eternity as the instrument of his mighty work! He will make smooth 
and open up the way not only, as I hope, for myself, slight and un- 
worthy thing that I am, but for such others also as may be aflame with 
zeal for the honor and glory of God and the salvation of souls." 41 

89 Historic Domus Universitatis S. Ludovici. (A) . 

40 Historia Domus Probationis S. Stanislai. (E) . 

41 Hist. Dom. Univ. S. Lud. Father Roothaan expressed surprise that Father 
De Smet was allowed to go without a companion-priest. But the additional thousand 
dollars needed to meet the expenses of another priest could not be raised. 


The letters-patent from Bishop Rosati which De Smet carried with 
him set forth briefly the object of his mission: 

To all and several who shall examine these presents we make known and 
witness that Father Peter De Smet, priest of the Society of Jesus, most dear 
to us in Christ, deserving most highly of our diocese and influenced by zeal 
for the salvation of souls and the greater glory of God, has been chosen by 
Rev. Father Peter Verhaegen, Superior of the Missions of the same Society in 
Missouri and sent by us with all necessary faculties to visit and evangelize the 
various tribes of aborigines living beyond the Rocky Mountains, some of 
whom, in particular those called the Flatheads, have through deputies dis- 
patched repeatedly to St. Louis signified a most ardent desire for the Catholic 
faith and have earnestly begged for a priest by whom they might be instructed. 
Therefore, in order to accede to the wishes of the little ones asking for bread 
and for a minister to break it unto them, we send this strenuous herald of the 
Gospel in very truth even to the ends of the earth, in the footsteps of the 
illustrious Apostle of the Indies, without sack or scrip, for he undertakes a 
most difficult journey replete with perils and is ready to lay down his life for 
his brethren; and we earnestly commend him to all the faithful and especially 
to our fellow-priests whom he shall happen to meet and we pray them lovingly 
to receive our most beloved missionary and in Christian charity cherish him 
in every possible way. 42 

The first leg of the journey, St. Louis to Westport, was made by 
Missouri River steamer. At Westport, "jumping-off place" for the long 
journey across the plains, he joined the annual expedition of the Ameri- 
can Fur Company. The party numbered about forty and was in charge 
of Captain Andrew Drips, well-known fur-trader and frontier figure 
of the day. 43 The route was over the Oregon Trail, "the Great Medi- 
cine Road of the whites" in De Smet's words, "the broadest, longest, 
and most beautiful road in the whole world from the United States to 
the Pacific Ocean." 44 The most characteristic sights in scenery, fauna 
and flora to be witnessed along the famous highway were seized by 
De Smet, who had a flair for description, and given place in his graphic 
narrative of the journey. Thus are pictured the sagebrush, the buffalo, 
the prairie-dog, the prairie-wolf, Chimney Rock, Independence Rock, 
and the great Rockies themselves. These are "nothing but rocks heaped 
upon rocks 5 you think you have before your eyes the ruins of a whole 
world, covered with the eternal snows as with a shroud." 45 On June 23 
the caravan crossed by the South Pass from the east to the west side 
of the Continental Divide. "On the day following, we passed from the 

42 (A). The original text is in Latin. 
**0&,DeSmet, i: 193. 

44 CR, De Smet, 2:671. 

45 ldem> i: 214. 


waters tributary* to the Missouri to those of the Colorado which flows 
into the Pacific Ocean, by way of California. 3 ' 46 On June 30 the 
travellers arrived at the American Fur Company rendezvous on the 
Green River in what is now southwestern Wyoming. Here ten Flat- 
head warriors were waiting to serve as an escort for the missionary 
to the main camp of the Flatheads and Pend d'Oreilles in Pierre's 
Hole, famous as a rendezvous for participants in the fur-trade. Some- 
where in what was subsequently known as "the prairie of the Mass/' 
on the banks of the Green River, De Smet said Mass on July 5, the 
first recorded celebration of the rite within the limits of Wyoming. 

On Sunday the 5th of July I had the consolation of celebrating the holy 
sacrifice of the Mass sub dio [in the open air] . The altar was placed on an 
elevation and surrounded with boughs and garlands of flowers; I addressed 
the congregation in French and in English and spoke also by an interpreter 
to the Flatheads and Snake Indians. It was a spectacle truly moving for the 
heart of a missionary to behold an assembly composed of so many different 
nations, who all assisted at our holy mysteries with great satisfaction. The 
Canadians sang hymns in French and Latin and the Indians in their native 
tongue. It was truly a Catholic worship. . . . This place has been called 
since that time, by the French Canadians, la prairie de la Messed 1 

De Smet's reception by the Indians was an enthusiastic one. Nearly 
six hundred of them including the two head chiefs of the Flatheads 
and Pend d'Oreilles, both octogenarians, were baptized 5 the rest of the 
Indians were eager for the sacrament, but De Smet, not quite assured 
of their dispositions, put them off to a later occasion. 48 But he was 
strong in the conviction that the Flatheads offered every prospect for a 
superabundant spiritual harvest. He therefore assured them that they 
might look for a resident missionary the following spring and so began 
his homeward journey. A remarkable passage in his journal tells of 
his ascent of a high mountain whence one could clearly view Henry's 
Lake and Mosquito or Red Rock Lake, ultimate sources respectively 
of the Columbia and Missouri Rivers. He sat astride, as it were, of two 
of the great watersheds of North America and the situation stirred him 
to pious reflection: 

On the 22nd of July the camp came to Henry's Lake, one of the prin- 
cipal sources of the Columbia; it is about ten miles in circumference. We 

46 Idem, 1:215. 

47 l&em, 1 : 262. A marker has been set up by the Knights of Columbus 
on the spot as approximately determined. De Smet records that he said Mass regu- 
larly Sundays and feast days all the time he was in the mountains. (CR, De Smet, 
i: ZSG). He very probably said Mass at Fort Laramie. 

48 CR, DeSmet, 1:226. 


climbed on horseback the mountain that parts the waters of two great rivers; 
the Missouri, which is properly speaking the main branch of the Mississippi 
and flows with it into the Gulf of Mexico, and the Columbia, which bears 
the tribute of its waters to the Pacific Ocean. From the elevated spot at which 
I was I could easily distinguish Mosquito Lake [Red Rock Lake], source 
of one of the main branches of the north fork of the Missouri, called Jeffer- 
son River. 

The two lakes are scarce eight miles apart. I started for the summit of a 
high mountian, for a better examination of the fountains that give birth to 
these two great rivers; I saw them falling in cascades from an immense 
height, hurling themselves with uproar from rock to rock; even at their 
source they formed already two mighty torrents, scarcely more than a hun- 
dred paces apart. I was bound to get to the top. After six wearisome hours, 
I found myself exhausted. I think I must have climbed more than 5,000 feet; 
I had passed snow drifts more than twenty feet deep, and still the mountain 
top was at a great height above me. I therefore saw myself compelled to give 
up my plan, and I found a place to sit down. The fathers of the Company 
who are in the missionary service on the banks of the Mississippi and its tribu- 
taries, from Council Bluffs to the Gulf of Mexico, came to my mind. I wept 
with joy at the happy memories that were aroused in my heart. I thanked 
the Lord that He had deigned to favor the labors of his servants, scattered 
over this vast vineyard, imploring at the same time his divine grace for all 
the nations of Oregon, and in particular for the Flatheads and Pend 
d'Oreilles, who had so recently and so heartily ranged themselves under the 
banner of Jesus Christ. I engraved upon a soft stone this inscription in large 
letters: Sanctus Ignatius Patronus Montium. Die Julii 23, 1840 ["St. 
Ignatius, Patron of the Mountains, July 23, 1840"]. I said a Mass of thanks- 
giving at the foot of this mountain, surrounded by my savages who intoned 
chants to the praise of God, and installed myself in the land in the name of 
our holy founder. 49 

Pursuing his journey De Smet travelled by way o the Yellowstone 
and Missouri with a single companion for guide, Jean-Baptiste de 
Velder, a Belgian of Ghent and erstwhile grenadier under Napoleon 
who had spent fourteen years trapping beaver in the mountains. De- 
cember 31, 1840, the missionary was back again in the kindly shelter 
of St. Louis University, having left it for his first journey to the 
Rocky Mountains nine months before. 50 

49 Idem, 1:229. This would appear to have been the first recorded Mass in 
Montana. According to the Rev. Michael A. Shine in Nebraska State Historical 
Collections, 16:212, De Smet said the first Mass in Nebraska Sunday, September 
14, 1851, on the Great Council Plain in Scotts Bluff County. The statement prob- 
ably needs correction. Father Christian Hoecken baptized at Bellevue, on the 
Nebraska side of the Missouri, as early as June, 1846 (infra, Chap. XXVI, note 
88), on which occasion he also in all likelihood celebrated Mass, 

CR 9 Dt Smet, 1:258. 



The report which De Smet delivered to Bishop Rosati and Father 
Verhaegen on his return to St. Louis recommended strongly a perma- 
nent mission among the Flatheads. Everything indeed seemed to indi- 
cate that the time was ripe for such an enterprise and steps were ac- 
cordingly taken to begin it in the spring of 1841. On January 15 Father 
Verhaegen discussed with his consultors the staff of the projected 
mission. The names of Fathers De Smet, Point, Mengarini, Walters, 
Verheyden and Cotting were canvassed, but no definite choice was 
made as it was thought expedient to give the matter further considera- 
tion. On March 4 the superior again laid the question before his con- 
suitors with the result that Fathers De Smet, Point and Mengarini 
were designated to begin the Rocky Mountain Mission, the first-named 
being appointed superior of the group. Father Cotting was also to be sent 
should De Smet decide to employ his services. Moreover, three coadju- 
tor-brothers, Joseph Specht, William Claessens and a third to be se- 
lected by De Smet, were to be of the party. 51 As the financial side of 
the venture presented grave difficulties, De Smet was permitted to go 
to New Orleans to solicit aid, and for the same purpose to enter into 
correspondence with some of the American bishops. He wrote to Father 
Roothaan on February 7: "I shall leave tomorrow for Louisiana, to 
beg there for the Mountain mission: on this begging depends in great 
measure the beginnings of the enterprise. Journeys to the Mountains 
are very expensive. Each missionary needs a good horse, which costs 
from sixty to eighty dollars. Then pack-horses are needed to carry pro- 
visions and .things. Arrived on the ground we shall have to build, start 
a farm and procure for the Indians whatever is absolutely necessary 
to work it." How successful were his efforts for aid De Smet made 
known to a correspondent: 

On my arrival at St. Louis, I gave an account to my superior of my jour- 
ney and of the flattering prospects which the mission beyond the Rocky 
Mountains held out. You will easily believe me what I tell you that my heart 
sank within me on learning from him that the funds at his disposal for mis- 
sionary purposes would not enable him to afford me scarcely the half of what 
would be necessary for the outfit and other expenses of an expedition. The 
thought that the undertaking would have been given up, that I would not 
be able to redeem my promise to the poor Indians, pierced my heart and filled 
me with deepest sorrow. I would have desponded had I not already experi- 
enced the visible protection of the Almighty in the prosecution of this great 

51 Brother George Miles, then stationed at the Potawatomi Mission, Council 
Bluffs, Iowa Territory, seems to have been Father De Smet's choice. Brother 
Charles Huet was to be the third coadjutor-brother attached to the party. 


work. My confidence in him was unabated. Whilst in this state of mind one 
of my friends encouraged me to appeal to the zealous and learned coadjutor 
of Philadelphia [Francis Patrick Kenrick] and to his indefatigable clergy. I 
immediately acted upon the thought. I did appeal and with what success the 
Catholic public already know. To the Bishop, who gave his sanction to the 
plan of a general and simultaneous collection throughout his diocese; to the 
clergy of the different churches of the city, who so kindly interested them- 
selves in this good work and proposed it to their congregations; to the gen- 
erous people of Philadelphia, who so liberally responded to the call of their 
pastors, I return my sincere . thanks and will daily beg the father of mercies 
to reward them with his choicest blessings. 

I must not omit to [make] mention of other generous contributors. After 
having written to Philadelphia I was advised to visit New Orleans and recom- 
mend the cause of the Indians to the good Bishop [Blanc] of that city and to 
his clergy and people. I did so. The Bishop received me with great kindness; 
gave his approbation to a collection, and placed his name first on the list. 
His clergy followed his example. As I had only a few days at my disposal, 
I thought it was best to solicit subscriptions through several generous ladies 
who offered themselves for this purpose. In the space of three or four days 
they collected nearly $1,000. You have no idea with what spirit the pious 
portion of the people entered into the affair. Almost every moment of my 
stay persons came to offer me something for the Indian mission. Several ladies 
gave me various trinkets, such as ear-rings, bracelets, and ornaments of every 
description; others brought implements and articles, which will be of great 
use in the Indian country. In a word, Reverend Sir, I left New Orleans with 
$1,100 in cash and six boxes full of various and most useful articles. From 
the Reverend Mr. Durbin of Kentucky I received $300, and the Reverend 
Jno. O'Reilly remitted $140, the amount collected in St. Paul's Church, 
Pittsburg. St. Louis supplied the balance of what was necessary for the outfit, 
the expenses of the journey and the commencement of the establishment in 
the Indian country. To the Bishops and to the zealous clergy and laity of 
Philadelphia and New Orleans; to the clergy and laity of other places who 
aided the good cause; in a word, to all the benefactors of the mission beyond 
the Rocky Mountains, I again return my sincere thanks. 52 

Under the caption, "Directions for the new mission in the Rocky 
Mountains," Father Verhaegen drew up a memorandum for De Smet: 

A. M. D. G. 

I do hereby constitute Rev. Fr. De Smet Superior of all the members of 
our Society that will accompany him to the above region. 

62 CR, De Smet, i: 273. De Smet speaks elsewhere of his success in collecting 
in New Orleans, "which place I visited in person and which is always at the head 
of the others when there is question of relieving the necessities of the poor or show- 
ing compassion or munificence to any who may be in need of assistance." CR, 
De Smet, i : 277. 


For the present I think that but one permanent residence should be 
formed among the Indians. I desire, of course, that all the members remain 
together and form but one community. However, should it be found necessary 
to establish two residences, I would permit only Father Point to reside with a 
brother at a distance from the main residence. Fr. Mengarini has but little 
experience in the ministry and should be applied to the study of the language 
and remain, of course, as much as possible, at home. I entreat all my Brethren 
in Xt. to be linked together by the strongest bonds of love and union; to be 
very punctual in the exercise of their religious duties and not to retard or 
impede by their faults the happy result of their glorious enterprise. If all keep 
their respective rules punctually, their labors will be crowned with the most 
glorious success. 

I finally entreat them to remember me frequently in their fervent prayers. 

P. J. Verhaegen, S J. 
Vice Prov. of the V[ice] Province 
of Missouri ss 

The faculties granted to the FF. [Fathers] by 
the right rev. Bp. of St. Louis are 
also granted by the right rev. Bp. Loras 
for such parts as belong to his diocese. 64 

For a while it looked as though the expedition would not get away 
for another year. Verhaegen wrote to the General on April 1 5 : 

Fathers De Smet, Point and Mengarini and the coadjutor-brothers, Miles, 
Huet and Specht are all ready for the journey and are anxiously awaiting 
news of the party of hunters without whose company they should be unable 
to travel owing to the snares and treachery of the Indians. It is doubtful 
whether such a party will go out to the Rocky Mountains this spring accord- 
ing to annual custom and so I fear we shall have to defer the expedition to 
autumn or next spring. Our mission meets with great favor here and there 
in the United States and in several places collections are being made to aid 
us. In the single city of New Orleans Father De Smet, besides receiving gifts 
having a money value, collected $1,000. This affair, so glorious to our holy 
religion, must be left then to Divine Providence. We for our part will leave 
nothing undone to give it effect as soon as possible. 55 

At length, on April 24 De Smet with Fathers Mengarini and 
Eysvogels, the last-named bound for the Potawatomi Mission of 
Council Bluffs, and Brothers Huet and Specht left St. Louis. 56 That 

54 As a matter of fact the missionaries were not to traverse any part of the 
diocese of Dubuque (or Iowa Territory), of which Loras was bishop. 

65 Verhaegen ad Roothaan, April 15, 1841. (AA). 

56 Father Point and Brother Claessens joined the party at Westport. Diarium 
Universitatis S. LudovicL (A) . 


day Mengarini penned a brief note to Father Roothaan: "The caravan 
has been found and today, April 24, feast of St. Fidelis [of Sigmar- 
ingen], Protomartyr of the Propagation of the Faith, we are setting 
out for Westport where we shall find Father Point and thence pro- 
ceed to the Rocky Mountains." 57 After a seven-days 3 trip up the Mis- 
souri by steamer Westport was reached on April 305 it was left behind 
on May 10. Five days out on the Oregon Trail, May 15, De Smet 
wrote from the Kaw River to the General: "Here I am five days on 
the way to the good Flatheads. I come to throw myself with my dear 
brothers in Jesus Christ, Fathers Point and Mengarini and Brothers 
Huet, Claessens, and Specht, at the feet of your Paternity to beg a 
blessing on ourselves and our labors. Aided by the grace of God, sup- 
ported by the Holy Sacrifices of our Fathers and the good prayers of 
all our brethren, we shall brave every obstacle to fly to the conquest 
of souls." 58 

A letter of De Smet supplies a few personal data about his Jesuit 
colleagues. Father Nicholas Point, forty-two, was a native of Rocroy 
in the Ardennes, France. De Smet, mistakenly taking him to be a Ven- 
dean, wrote that he was, "as zealous and courageous for the salvation of 
souls as his compatriot La Roche Jacquelin was in the service of his 
lawful sovereign." Father Gregory Mengarini, twenty-nine, an Italian, 
"was specially selected by the Father General himself for this mission 
on account of his age, his virtues, his great facility for languages, and 
his knowledge of medicine and music." William Claessens, a Belgian, 
twenty-nine, was a blacksmith j Charles Huet, also a Belgian, thirty-five, 
a carpenter 5 and Joseph Specht, a German, thirty-two, a tinner and 
factotum. The lay brothers, added De Smet, "were all three industrious, 
devoted to the missions and full of good will." 59 

For a space of four days the missionaries camped on Soldier 
Creek, an affluent of the Kaw, in the immediate neighborhood of the 
Kaw Indian village. Here they had Mass in their tent, this satisfaction 
not having previously been theirs since they left Westport. On a visit 
to the Kaw village De Smet made the acquaintance of White Plume, 
the Kansas chief pictured by Washington Irving in his Adventures of 
Captain Bonneville. The missionaries counted in their party Thomas 
Fitzpatrick, well-known scout and mountain-man and a former head 
of the Rocky Mountain Fur Company, who had conducted Marcus 
Whitman and his wife across the plains in 18365 John Gray, hunter; 

67 Mengarini a Roothaan, April 24, 1841. (AA). 

58 De Smet a Roothaan, May 15, 1841. (AA). 

59 CR ? De Smet, i: 278. Huet and not Specht was probably the tinner of the 
party; at any rate the former was an expert tinner and did notable work on the 
St. Louis cathedral as also on the St. Louis court-house. 


an Englishman named Romaine, and five teamsters. 60 At the Kaw 
River John Bidwell's party, some fifty strong, with which the Jesuits 
were to travel, completed its organization. All in all the caravan that 
was now to set out for the Rockies numbered seventy souls, "fifty 
of whom were capable of managing the rifle." "It will be understood," 
Bidwell wrote in his journal, "that Fitzpatrick was captain of the mis- 
sionary party and pilot of the whole." It is interesting to note that 
of those making up the personnel of this expedition at least five wrote 
accounts of it which are now in print, namely, the three Jesuit priests, 
Bidwell, and Joseph Williams, a Methodist clergyman bound for 
lower Oregon, Bidwell went to California and there as pioneer, phi- 
lanthropist and statesman made a distinguished record in the history 
of the state. 

It was customary for parties crossing the plains to organize into an 
association of some sort with officers. This was done by the present 
group on May 18, the result being that T. H. Green was elected presi- 
dent, John Bidwell, secretary, and John Bartleson, a Missourian, cap- 
tain. BidwelPs journal has this entry for May 14: "This morning the 
wagons started off in single file; first the four carts and one small 
wagon of the missionaries ; next, 8 wagons drawn by mules and horses 
and lastly five wagons drawn by seventeen yoke of oxen." On June 2 
a meeting was held at which complaint was made that the missionaries 
were going too fast 5 but it was impossible, so Bidwell reported, "to 
leave Mr. Fitzpatrick." His journal for July 30 records: "Travelled 
about five miles and camped. Guess what took place. Another family 
was created! Widow Gray, who was a sister to Mrs. Kelsey, was mar- 
ried to a man who joined our company at Fort Laramie; his right name 
I forget, but his everywhere name in the mountains was Cocrum. He 
has but one eye. Marriage ceremony performed by Father De Smet." 
This would seem to have been the earliest known marriage performed 
by a clergyman within the limits of Wyoming. 

The relations between Father De Smet and the non-Catholic mem- 
bers of the party were of the pleasantest. Bidwell in particular con- 
ceived the highest opinion of him and in later years recorded this ap- 

60 "A Journey to California" reproduced in C. C. Royce (ed.), John Bidwell, 
-pioneer, statesman, philanthropist. A biographical sketch (Chico, California, 1906). 
BidwelPs journal is dated March 30, 1842. Hubert H. Bancroft, History of Cali- 
fornia (San Francisco, 1886), 4: 265-272, has an account of the overland party of 
1841, which, he says, consisted of "about 48 men in all with some 15 women and 
children." He lists several narratives of the journey, most of them manuscript, 
written or dictated by members of the party, including John Bidwell, Josiah Belden, 
Joseph B. Chiles and Charles Hoffer. The Bancroft list does not include the 
printed accounts by Williams, De Smet (CR, De Smet, i: 272-288), Point (WL, 
12:4-22, 133-137) and Mengarini (WL, 17:302-306). 





T 1 








^ h 

t d <u 

-J 6-s- 









preciation: "[He was] genial, of fine presence and one of the saintliest 
men I have ever known, and I cannot wonder that the Indians were 
made to believe him divinely protected. He was a man of great kind- 
ness and great affability under all circumstances 3 nothing seemed to 
disturb his temper." C1 Joseph Williams, the Protestant minister from 
Indiana on his way to Oregon, was also impressed with De Smet's 
courtesy and kindness. He wrote in his journal: "There were about 
20 wagons belonging to the expedition drawn by oxen. One of the com- 
pany was a Catholic priest, a Mr. De Smidt [De Smet], who was ex- 
tremely kind to me and invited me to come and eat supper with him 
that night and next morning brought me some venison. He ap- 
peared to me to be a very fine man." 62 Mr. Williams, so De Smet 
describes him, was a man of "ingenuous simplicity." He was "neither 
a Methodist, a Protestant, nor a Catholic not even a Christian," main- 
taining that all religions or no religion at all might be equally pleasing 
in the eyes of God. "For the proof of his doctrine he relied (strange 
to say) on the authority of St. Paul, and particularly on this text: Unus 
T)Qmmus y una fides [one Lord, one faith]. In fact, these were the very 
words with which he greeted us the first time he saw us, and which 
formed the subject of a long valedictory discourse which he delivered in 
one of the meeting-houses of Westport, previous to his departure for 
his western Mission. By whom was he sent? We have never ascer- 
tained. His zeal frequently induced him to dispute with us 5 it was 
not difficult to show him that his ideas, with the exception of one, were 
vague and fluctuating." 63 Though the Jesuits made no converts among 
their associates on the journey, they had accomplished some gratifying 
results. "Though Americans are slow to change their creed," records 
De Smet, "we had the consolation to relieve our travelling companions 
of a heavy load of prejudice against our holy religion. They parted 
from us exhibiting signs of respect and veneration ; nay even of prefer- 
ence for Catholicity." 64 "Oddly enough," comments the editor of Wil- 
liams's narrative, "these three writers, De Smet, Bidwell and Williams 
separated before they had traversed two-thirds of the journey to pursue 
their routes towards different goals. De Smet turned North at Fort Hall 
to join the Flatheads, Bidwell left the party at Bear River to traverse 
the deserts west of Salt Lake and find his way to the open Sacramento 
Valley, while Williams with about twenty-five others made his way 

61 Cited from Century Magazine, November, 1890, in CR, De Smet> i: 114. 

62 Joseph Williams, Narrative of a Tour "from the State of Indiana to Oregon 
Territory in the years, 1841-42. With an introduction by James C. Bell (New 
York, 1921), p. 33. 

68 CR, De Smet, i : 297. 


over the Snake River desert and Blue Mountains to the Oregon settle- 
ments near the mouth of the Willamette." 65 Some of BidwelPs party 
on meeting a group of travellers returning from California with dis- 
couraging reports of that country had turned back in their steps. When 
he left the Oregon Trail at Soda Springs on the Bear River, August 1 1 , 
his company, instead of its original strength of fifty, numbered only 
thirty-four. On August 10 De Smet with two or three Flathead Indians 
started off early in the evening for Fort Hall about fifty miles distant. 
On the I4th, eve of the festival of the Assumption, he was at the fort, 
a Hudson's Bay Company post commanded by Francis Ermantinger, 
who gave him a cordial welcome. 

Although a Protestant by birth, this noble Englishman gave us a most 
friendly reception. Not only did he repeatedly invite us to his table, and sell 
us, at first cost, or at one-third of its value, in a country so remote whatever 
we required; but he also added, as pure gifts, many articles which he believed 
would be particularly acceptable. He did more: he promised to recommend us 
to the good will of the Governor of the honorable English Hudson Bay Com- 
pany, who was already prepossessed in our favor; and, what is still more 
deserving of praise, he assured us that he would second our ministry among 
the populous nation of the Snakes, with whom he has frequent intercourse. 
So much zeal and generosity give him a claim to our esteem and gratitude. 
May heaven return to him a hundredfold the benefits he has conferred on 
us! 6e 

At Fort Hall the missionaries met the vanguard of the Flatheads, 
which had travelled eight hundred miles to give them welcome. De 
Smet's graphic pen after sketching some of the more interesting figures 
in this party of Indians recounts the manner in which the tribe had 
spent the interval between his first and second visits: 

They had prayed daily to obtain for me a happy journey and a speedy re- 
turn. Their brethren continued in the same good disposition; almost all, even 
children and old men, knew by heart the prayers which I had taught them the 
preceding year. Twice on every week day, and three times on each Sunday, 
the assembled tribe recited prayers in common. Whenever they moved their 
camp, they carried with them, as an ark of safety, the box of ornaments left 
in their custody. Five or six children whom I had baptized went to heaven 
during my absence; the very morrow of my departure, a young warrior 
whom I had baptized the day previous died in consequence of a wound 
received from the Black Feet about three months before. Another, who had 
accompanied me as far as the fort of the Crows, and was as yet but a cate- 

65 Joseph Williams, of. cit^ Introduction. 

06 CR, De Smet, 1:294. De Smet met Ermantinger again in 1846, this time 
in the Canadian Rockies. CR, De Smet, ^\ 542. 


chumen, died of sickness in returning to the tribe, but in such happy dispo- 
sitions that his mother was perfectly consoled for his loss by the conviction that 
his soul was in heaven. A girl about twelve years of age, seeing herself on the 
point of dying, had solicited baptism with such earnestness that she was bap- 
tized by Peter the Iroquois, and received the name of Mary. After having 
sung a canticle in a stronger voice than usual, she died, saying: "Oh how 
beautiful! I see Mary, my Mother." So many favors from heaven were calcu- 
lated to instigate the malice of hell. The enemies of salvation had accordingly 
attempted to sow the cockle among the good grain, by suggesting to the chiefs 
of the tribe that my conduct would be like that of so many others, who, "once 
gone, had never returned." But the great chief had invariably replied: "You 
wrong our Father ; he is not double-tongued, like so many others. He has 
said: C I will return,' and he will return, I am sure." The interpreter added 
that it was this conviction which had impelled the venerable old man, not- 
withstanding his advanced age, to place himself at the head of the detachment 
bound for Green River; that they had arrived at the rendezvous on the ist of 
July, which was the appointed day; that they had remained there till the 
1 6th, and would have continued to occupy the same position had not the 
scarcity of provisions obliged them to depart. He stated also that the whole 
tribe had determined to fix upon some spot as a site for a permanent village; 
that, with this view, they had already chosen two places which they believed 
to be suitable; that nothing but our presence was required to confirm their 
determination, and they relied with such implicit confidence on our speedy 
arrival that the great chief, on starting from Green River, had left there three 
men to await us, advising them to hold that position until no longer tenable. 67 

Some time after they had left Fort Hall behind them the mission- 
aries recrossed the Continental Divide to the Beaver Head River, one of 
the sources of the Missouri. Near this stream they met the main body 
of the Flatheads led by Little Chief Insula, afterwards baptized Michael 
"on account of his fidelity and courage." 6S "The tribe had the appear- 
ance of a flock crowding with eagerness around their shepherd. The 
mothers offered us their children and so moving was the scene that we 
could scarcely refrain from tears. This evening was certainly one of 
the happiest in our lives. . . . The hopeful thought that we would 
soon behold the happy days of the primitive Christians revive among 
these Indians filled our minds." 69 Meanwhile, to improve the leisure 
hours of the journey Father De Smet set Father Point, who was an 
adept in drawing, at work on plans for the projected mission-buildings. 
Muratori, historian of the famous Paraguay missions known as "reduc- 
tions," was drawn upon for suggestions. "We had made it [Muratori's 
work]," says De Smet, "our Vade Mecttm." Later he wrote in regard 

87 Idem, i: 293. 
08 Idem, i: 304. 
69 Idem, i: 305. 


to his plans for the Flathead Mission: "All this is to be executed in 
conformity with the method formerly adopted in the missions of Para- 
guay." 70 


The party now moved over the main ridge of the Rockies, which 
separates eastern from western Montana, and following the course of 
Deer Lodge Creek and Hell-Gate River, which latter they named the 
St. Ignatius, they passed by the location of the present Missoula and 
thence for a distance of about twenty-eight miles up the Bitter Root 
Valley, the home of the Flatheads. Here, at a point on the right bank 
of the Bitter Root River, between the site of the modern Stevensville 
and old Fort Owen, they halted, September 4, 1841, the feast of Our 
Lady of Mercy. It was their journey's end; on this spot they were to 
set up St. Mary's Mission among the Flatheads, the first Catholic 
Indian mission in the Pacific Northwest. 

The locality was not an unknown one in the history of western 
exploration. Lewis and Clark had come down the valley in 1805 on 
their memorable journey to the coast, deflecting west through the Lolo 
Pass to make their way through a great maze of mountain defiles into 
the Clearwater basin. As late as 1890 a woman of the tribe was living 
who clearly recalled the coming of the great explorers to the Bitter Root 
eighty-five years before. 71 The valley was a natural fortress. North- 
south mountain ranges, intricate mazes of snow-crowned rock, flanked 
it on either side while at its foot branched out to the right Hell-Gate 
Defile, which was the only practicable route over the main ridge of 
the Rockies into the buffalo country on their eastern slope. The French 
Canadians with their gift for expressive nomenclature gave it the grim 
name Porte d'Enjer or Hell-Gate, probably because through it the 
Blackfeet were wont to make their murderous forays into the Flathead 
country. 72 Hell-Gate Canyon linking up with Clark's Fork of the Co- 
lumbia formed a trunk-line of Nature's making which put the Rocky 
Mountain region in communication with the lower Columbia Valley. 
Indian trails inevitably pursued this natural route, which was also to be 
the one followed by two great railroad systems, the Northern Pacific 
and the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul. At the mission-site the Bitter 
Root Valley was some twelve miles wide. Dr. Suckley, an American 
army surgeon co'nnected with Governor Stevens's exploring party, who 
made a reconnaissance in 1853 of the country between the two forts, 
Owen and Vancouver, described it as "very fertile, watered by cool, 

70 Idem, i: 330. 

71 Peter Ronan, Historical Sketch of the Flathead Indian Nation from the Year 
1813 to iSgo (Helena, Montana, 1890), p. 41. 

72 Elliot Coues (ed.), History of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, i: 1071. 


sparkling brooks and surrounded by lofty and picturesque mountains. 
. . . The soil of the valley is exceedingly fertile. Cattle do not gen- 
erally require fodder in the winter the snow is so light. All the nu- 
merous streams abound in fine trout. In the valleys and on the moun- 
tains, bear, deer, elk, beaver and mountain-sheep are abundant." 73 
Lieutenant John Mullan, builder of the pioneer wagon-road between 
Fort Benton and Walla Walla, w r as especially impressed by the mildness 
of the climate. "Bitter Root Valley well merits the name of the Valley 
of Perennial Spring. The fact of the exceedingly mild winters in the 
valley has been noticed and remarked by everyone who has ever been 
in it in the winter season." 74 

So intimately had the Virgin Mother been associated in the eyes of 
the missionaries with the various incidents that preceded their arrival 
at the mission-site that they were led to name the new establishment 
in her honor: 

After a journey of four months and a half on horseback through the 
desert, and in spite of our actual want of bread, wine, sugar, fruit, and all 
such things as are called the conveniences of life we find our strength and 
courage increased, and are better prepared than ever to work at the conversion 
of the souls that Providence entrusts to our care. Next to the Author of all 
good things, we returned thanks to her whom the church reveres as the 
Mother of her Divine Spouse, since it has pleased the Divine goodness to send 
us the greatest consolations on several days consecrated to her honor. On the 
feast of her glorious Assumption [August 15] we met the vanguard of our 
dear neophytes. On the Sunday within the Octave [August 22], we, for the 
first time since my return, celebrated the Holy Mysteries among them. On 
the following Sunday [August 29] our good Indians placed themselves and 
their children under the Immaculate Heart of Mary, of which we then cele- 
brated the feast. This act of devotion was renewed by the great chief in the 
name of the whole tribe, on the feast of her Holy Name [September 12]. 
On the 24th of September, the feast of our Lady of Mercy, we arrived at the 

73 Report of the Secretary of War communicating the several Pacific railroad, 
explorations. U.S. 33d Cong. 1st Sess., House Executive Document, no. 129, p. 275. 

74 Idem, p. 348. The alleged mildness of the winters in the Bitter Root Valley 
is not borne out by the testimony of the missionaries who, on the contrary, speak of 
their severity. Father Mengarini wrote in his old age that a chill came over him 
whenever he recalled the cold at St. Mary's so vivid was the impression it left upon 
him. "We wrapped ourselves in several blankets and then in a buffalo-robe; yet in 
the morning we awoke to find robe and blanket frozen into one piece. We crept 
out of our frozen shell and set it before the fire to thaw; and this we did daily 
through the long winter months." Memoirs in WL, 17:397. In the winter of 
1846-1847 the temperature fell to 30 Reamur and the deep snows prevented some 

sorely needed supplies from reaching the mission. "The cold is excessive," Mengarini 
wrote from the Bitter Root in 1847. "* n ^42 it was 24 below by Reamur's 
thermometer almost steadily from November 15 to February 20 and in the winter 
of 1846 it was 27 below zero at various times even down to March." 


river called the Bitter Root, on the banks of which we have chosen the site 
for our principal missionary station. On the first Sunday of October, feast of 
the Rosary [October 3] we took possession of the promised land, by planting 
a cross on the spot which we had chosen for our first residence. What motives 
of encouragement does not the Gospel of the present Sunday add to all these 
mentioned before. Today too we celebrate the Divine Maternity [Octo- 
ber 3?] and what may we not expect from the Virgin Mother who brought 
forth her son for the salvation of the world. On the feast of her Patronage 
[October 8], we shall offer by her mediation to her Divine Son, twenty-five 
young Indians, who are to be baptized on that day. So many favors have 
induced us unanimously to proclaim Mary the protectress of our mission and 
give her name to our new residence. 75 

Two or three weeks' journey below the Flatheads at Waiilatpu 
near Walla Walla, Marcus Whitman and his wife Narcissa were at 
this time bravely pursuing their missionary experiment among the 
Cayuse. News of the coining of the Jesuits to the Bitter Root trickled 
down to them, not 'pleasant news as the correspondence of Mrs. Whit- 
man reveals. She wrote in October, 1841: 

The company of the Jesuits, twelve in number, consisting of three priests, 
three novitiates, and their pilot started from St. Louis. . . . Their pilot is 
Fitzpatrick, the same that commanded the party we came with from the 
States. This company came as far as Fort Hall. They then go with the In- 
dians to the Flathead country or Pend d'Oreille. It is not known where they 
will settle, but it is reported that they expect to locate themselves somewhere 
in this region and in the same language that part of our missionaries are 

Now we have Catholics on both sides of us and, we may say, right in 
our midst, for Mr. Pambrun [at Walla Walla], while he was alive, failed 
not to secure one of the principal Indians of this tribe to that religion and 
had his family baptized. He acts upon his band and holds from us many who 
would be glad to come and hear us. And then the Indians are acted upon 
constantly through the servants of the [Hudson's Bay] Company, who are 
all, scarcely without exception, Catholics. 

We feel no disposition to retreat from our work, but hope to stand our 
ground, if such a thing be possible. Fitzpatrick is expected here when he has 
accomplished his piloting for that company and is said to return to the States 
this fall; if so, I hope to send this by him. 76 

Dated five days later than the preceding is another letter of Mrs. 
Whitman's, in which she noted: "The Jesuit Mission from St. Louis 
under the care of Father Smidt [De Smet], late missionary to the 
Otoes [Potawatomi], as I am informed, near Council Bluffs, has been 

75 CR, De Smet, 1:315. 

76 Transactions, The Pioneer Oregon Association, 1890, p. 131. 


established and houses are building, but the exact location I cannot 
give you. It yet remains to learn its effects." 7T A year later Mrs. Whit- 
man wrote again: "Romanism stalks abroad on our right hand and on 
our left and with daring effrontery boasts that she is to prevail and 
possess the land. I ask, must it be so? The zeal and energy of her priests 
are without a parallel and many, both white men and Indians, wander 
after the beasts. Two are in the country below us and two far above in 
the mountains." 7S 

That Dr. Whitman was equally alarmed with his wife over what 
seemed an impending danger to the Protestant cause in Oregon through 
the advent of the Jesuits is made clear by his correspondence. In 1842 
he made his famous ride back to the states for the purpose, so it was 
later alleged, of saving Oregon for the United States. In the spring 
of 1843 h e was on his way back to the mountains, a member of the 
great outgoing party of immigrants of that year, which fiction repre- 
sents as having been mustered by him for the purpose of outnumbering 
the British settlers in Oregon and thereby saving that highly promising 
country for the Union. From the Shawnee Mission School, near West- 
port, Whitman wrote May 27, 1843, to a friend: "Lieut. Fremont 
of the U. S. Engineer Corps goes out with about thirty men to explore 
for the government and expects to return this fall. His men are Cana- 
dian voyageurs mostly and himself a Catholic. Two Papal priests 
[Adrian Hoecken and Peter De Vos] and their lay helpers are along 
and Father De Smet has gone back in order to go to Europe to bring 
others by ship. I think, however, the immigrants who are going out, 
will be a good acquisition. It will call on Christians to labor for their 
good. What a pity a good minister was not with us to go along at once. 
My expectations are high for that country." On May 28, Whitman 
confided similar fears to another correspondent: "I want you to get Dr. 
Smith's [De Smet's] Indian Sketches. It can be found at the Catholic 
Book Store. You will see what way the Society of Jesus do their mis- 
sionary work and what we have to contend with in Oregon." 79 Again, 
on May 30, he wrote from the Shawnee Mission: "De Smet's business 
in Europe can be seen, I think, at the top of the 23rd page of Indian 
Sketches 5 you will see by his book, I think, that the papal effort is 
designed to convey over the country to the English. We cannot at all 

77 Idem, p. 150. 

78 Letter of August 23, 1842, cited in Publications, Oregon Historical Society, 

1893, p. 249- 

79 Transactions, Pioneer Oregon Association, 1890, pp. 177, 179. Fremont was 
not a professed Catholic, though he came of Catholic stock. According to P-G Roy, 
La Famille Fremont (Levis, Canada, 1902), the elder Fremont, Louis-Rene, was a 
native of Quebec. On the other hand, Allan Nevins, Fremont, the Wesfs Greatest 
Adventurer, I, states that Fremont's father was not a Canadian but a French refugee. 


feel it just that we are doing nothing while worldly men and papists 
are doing so much." so No one may question the great services rendered 
by Marcus Whitman to Oregon in the days of its painful emergence 
from the wilderness; but the program of Indian missionary enterprise 
outlined by him and his co-religionists did not prove abortive on account 
of the opposition which, as he imagined, was to be raised against it on 
the Catholic side. Moreover, that De Smet and his Jesuit associates 
designed to assist in turning over the Oregon country to the British 
was a whimsical misconception of the facts. De Smet's strong American 
sympathies are revealed in a letter anent the Oregon question written 
by him to Senator Benton of Missouri. 81 

The De Smet letters go into much detail on the conduct of the 
Flathead neophytes during the opening years of St. Mary's Mission. 
Here are the words in which he sums up the results achieved before 

80 Cited in RACHS, 4.0:121. The passage in the Indian Sketches, p. 23, re- 
ferred to by Whitman cannot be identified. While Blanchet and his clergy as 
Canadian subjects may have been sympathetic to Great Britain while title to the 
country was still in dispute, there is no evidence that such was the case with the 
Jesuit missionaries. Still Whitman wrote as late as November 5, 1846, to Rev. L. P. 
Judson: "Mark you, had I been of your mind I should have slept and now the 
Jesuit papists would have been in quiet possession of this, the only spot in the 
western horizon of America not before their own [ ! ] . They were fast fixing them- 
selves here and had we missionaries no American population to come in to hold on 
to give stability it would have been but a small work for them and the friends of 
English interests, which they had also fully avowed, to have routed us and then 
the country might have slept in their hands forever. Time is not so short yet but 
it is quite important that such a country as Oregon should not on one hand fall 
into the exclusive hands of the Jesuits nor on the other under the English govern- 
ment." Oregon Historical Quarterly, 2: 200. Whitman's correspondence with 
Greene, secretary of the American Board of Foreign Missions (Boston), reveals his 
constant preoccupation with the idea that Oregon must be made safe for Protestant- 
ism. Thus in his letter of April 8, 1845: "I hope it will not be left for this the 
only spot in the western coast of America where Protestantism can soon gain a 
footing to be added to the Jesuit dominions of this coast." Cf. missionaries' cor- 
respondence, American Board of Foreign Missions (Boston), transcripts in New- 
berry Library, Chicago. Basing his conclusions on evidence supplied by the doctor's 
correspondence, Archer B. .Hulbert has advanced the theory that the real motive of 
Whitman's daring ride of 1842 was to induce eastern Protestants to settle in 
Oregon and by their numbers and influence strengthen the Protestant cause in that 
region. "Not until the 1 843 migration got under way from the Missouri River and 
he saw and accompanied it westward, is there a line in Whitman's many letters 
indicative of international rivalry for Oregon, but there are whole letters to indicate 
his anxiety over interdenominational rivalry. California and Canada being Catholic, 
Dr. Whitman saw in Oregon the one chance left for Protestantism to gain a foot- 
hold on the American Pacific Coast. To take it for granted that he was thinking 
in national terms while using only denominational terms is inconsistent. 53 Trans- 
Mississippi West 5 p. 94. 

81 CR, De Smet, 2:486. 


the end of 1841, recording at the same time how heaven seemed on 
one occasion to come to close quarters with an Indian boy: 

On my return, the 8th of December, I continued instructing those of the 
Flatheads who had not been baptized. On Christmas day I added 150 new 
baptisms to those of the 3rd of December, and thirty-two rehabilitations of 
marriages; so that the Flatheads, some sooner and others later, but all, with 
very few exceptions, had, in the space of three months, complied with every- 
thing necessary to merit the glorious title of true children of God. Accord- 
ingly on Christmas eve, a few hours before the midnight mass, the village 
of St. Mary was deemed worthy of a special mark of heaven's favor. The 
Blessed Virgin appeared to a little orphan boy named Paul, in the hut of an 
aged and truly pious woman. The youth, piety and sincerity of this child, 
joined to the nature of the fact which he related, forbade us to doubt the 
truth of his statement. 

Little Paul died towards the end of May, 1 847, after a few hours 
of sickness brought on by eating poisonous herbs. He was cut down, so 
Father Ravalli wrote on June 29, 1 847, to the General, none too soon, 
for the moral infection which shortly after by a strange dispensation 
of Providence spread through the body of the tribe would probably 
have numbered him among its victims. 

In the fall of 1841 Father De Smet journeyed to Fort Colville on 
the Columbia to obtain supplies for the mission and in the following 
spring he descended to Fort Vancouver to discuss his plans for future 
work in Oregon with Father Blanchet, vicar-general of the Bishop 
of Quebec, and with the chief factor of the Hudson's Bay Company, 
John McLoughlin. 82 In October, 1842, he left Oregon for St. Louis to 
obtain additional helpers and material aid for his missionary projects, 
Father Point going at the same time to the Coeur d'Alenes. Father 
Mengarini with two coadjutor-brothers was thus left alone with the 
Flatheads. In September, 1843, Father De Vos, relieved of his office 
of master of novices at Florissant, came to join him. In 1844 Mengarini 
went down to the Willamette, leaving De Vos in charge of the mission. 
On the former's return the same year De Vos was sent to the Willa- 
mette, where he did excellent work among the whites and even among 
the Indians of the lower Columbia. Mengarini, again at the head of 
the mission, continued to direct its destinies to its collapse in November, 
1850. In November, 1844, he welcomed an associate-worker in the per- 
son of Father Zerbinatti, who had come out over the Oregon Trail 
with Fathers Joset and Soderini. Zerbinatti's career in the mountains 
was soon brought to an abrupt end. Mengarini relates in his memoirs 
that on his return to St. Mary's in 1844 from Fort Vancouver he 

82 Idem, 1:370. 


brought with him a Canadian named Biledot, who was to set up mills, 
grist and saw, at the mission. 83 In May, 1845, th e grist-mill was in 
operation. On September 15 the saw-mill was tested for the first time 
with more or less satisfactory result. On the evening of that day Father 
Zerbinatti was missing from the little group. Presently anxious searchers 
found him drowned in the waters of the Bitter Root, in which appar- 
ently he had gone to bathe. He was replaced at the mission by Father 
Ravalli, who remained on its staff until it closed its doors. 

What had been accomplished for the Flatheads in a material way 
in the first five years of the mission is told by De Smet in a letter dated 
Flathead Camp, on the Yellowstone River, September 6, 1846: 

After an absence of about eighteen months, employed in visiting the vari- 
ous distant tribes and extending among them the kingdom of Christ, I re- 
turned to the nursery 3 so to speak, of our apostolic labors in the Rocky Moun- 
tains. Judge of the delight I experienced, when I found the little log church 
we built five years ago about to be replaced by another, which will bear com- 
parison with those in civflized countries, materials, everything ready to com- 
mence erecting it the moment they can procure some ropes to place the heavy 
timbers on the foundation. Another agreeable surprise, however, yet awaited 
me ; a mill had been constructed, destined to contribute largely to the increas- 
ing wants of the surrounding country. It is contrived to discharge the twofold 
charitable object of feeding the hungry and sheltering the houseless. The 
flourmill grinds ten or twelve bushels in a day; and the sawmill furnishes 
an abundant supply of plank, posts, etc., for the public and private building of 
the nation settled here. Indeed, the location stood much in need of so useful 
a concern. The soil yields abundant crops of wheat, oats and potatoes the 
rich prairie here is capable of supporting thousands of cattle. Two large rivu- 
lets, now almost useless, can, with a little labor, be made to irrigate the fields, 
gardens, and orchards of the village. The stock at present on this farm con- 
sists of about forty head of cattle, a fast-increasing herd of hogs and a prolific 
progeny of domestic fowl. In addition to the mill, twelve frame houses, of 
regular construction, have been put up. Hence you can form some idea of 
the temporal advantages enjoyed by the Flatheads of St. Mary's village. 84 

The significance of the mission in the pioneer history of western 
Montana is in the circumstance that it was the earliest nucleus of ordered 
civilized life within its limits. "These/ 7 it has been written in reference to 
the fathers' arrival in 1841, "were the first wagons and oxen brought 
to Montana . . . Probably the first farming attempted in our Territory 
was in the spring of 1842 by the Fathers of the Mission. This year they 
raised their first crop of wheat and potatoes. The same year the first 
cows were brought from the Hudson's Bay Company's post at Fort Col- 

**WL, 18:143. 

84 CR, DeSmet, 2:570. 


ville on the Columbia River." 85 As to the saw mill, Palladino is au- 
thority for the statement that Father Ravalli fabricated the saw out of 
discarded wagon-tires. 85 Ravalli added to his knowledge of medicine a 
turn for mechanical ingenuity and skill as Major John Owen was to 
find out to his advantage. We read in the latter's journal for Septem- 
ber i, 1868: "Rev'd Father Rivalli last evening brot home My Compd 
[compound] Microscope the adjusting screen of which had been out 
of order he fixed [it] for Me. He is a perfect genius and a good 
man." 87 


The first Catholic priests to visit Oregon Territory, since organized 
into the states of Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Montana (west of 
the Rocky Mountains) were Francis Norbert Blanchet and Modeste 
Demers, both of the diocese of Quebec. They arrived at Fort Van- 
couver, the principal post of the Hudson's Bay Company, one hundred 
miles above the mouth of the Columbia, November 24, 1838, and the 
following day said Mass there, thus inaugurating the work of the 
Catholic Church in the Pacific Northwest. 88 

At the time the two missionaries reached Oregon the title to that 
spacious territory was in dispute between Great Britain and the United 
States. Practically it was controlled by the agents of the Hudson's Bay 
Company, which after succeeding to the interests of the short-lived 
Pacific Fur Company of John Jacob Astor and then amalgamating with 
the Northwest Fur Company, dominated the whole Northwest with its 
trading-posts as centers of influence. Of these, there were some ten or 
twelve, the most important being Forts Vancouver, Walla Walla, Col- 
ville and Okinagan, all on the Columbia, the first one hundred, the 
last-named six hundred and ten miles approximately from the mouth 

85 Montana Historical Collections, 2 : 90. "It cannot be said, although no high 
degree of civilization among the savages followed their efforts, that De Smet and 
his associates were not fearless explorers and worthy pioneers who at least pre- 
pared the way for civilization and (were) the first to test the capability of the soil 
and climate of Montana for sustaining a civilized population." Hubert H. Ban- 
croft, History of Washington, Idaho and, "Montana (1890), p. 605. 

86 Palladino, of. cit., p. 60. "Through the persistent efforts of Father Ravalli, 
the two Brothers, and a French Canadian, a miniature milling-plant, the first grist- 
mill in Montana, was constructed, where the tiny burrstones made to run by water- 
power were turning out excellent flour, though the amount was barely sufficient in 
the beginning to supply that small Indian community." 

87 Owen, Journal, etc., 2: 179. 

88 Shea, History of the Catholic Church in the United States, 4:311. Arch- 
bishop Blanchet's Historical Sketches of the Catholic Church in Oregon, 1838- 
18-78, first published in 1878, are reprinted in Clarence E. Bagley (ed.), Early 
Catholic Missions in Old Oregon (Seattle, 1932), i: 9-14.1. 


of the great waterway. At all these posts there were small groups of 
French-Canadian Catholics in the employ of the company. Further, 
at the time Fathers Blanchet and Demers arrived in the country there 
was a settlement of twenty-six Catholic families on the Willamette, 
some fifty miles above its mouth, and another of four Catholic families 
on the Cowlitz, at a point forty-five miles above the mouth of that 
riven The Willamette is a tributary of the Columbia, emptying into 
the latter from the south a few miles below the site of old Fort Van- 
couver, while the Cowlitz enters the Columbia from the north, about 
thirty miles below the same site. From the Catholic settlement on the 
Cowlitz to Fort Nesqually at the southern extremity of Puget Sound 
was a distance of only seventy miles. 89 

Father Blanchet, whom Bishop Signay of Quebec appointed his 
vicar-general for Oregon, set to work at once to relieve the spiritual 
needs of the district entrusted to his care. At Cowlitz he erected a small 
building to serve as presbytery and church on land set apart by the 
Hudson's Bay Company for the Catholic mission. Thence he proceeded 
to the Willamette Valley, where at the Canadian settlement subse- 
quently called St. Paul's he found already erected a similar structure 
seventy by thirty feet in size. The first Mass at St. Paul's was said 
January 6, 1839. "These were the pioneer churches of Washington 
and Oregon." 90 Blanchet and Demers did not by any means confine 
their ministrations to the Catholic whites $ they endeavored also to 
evangelize the numerous tribes along the Willamette, Cowlitz and 
Columbia Rivers and in the vicinity of Puget Sound. As a medium of 
instruction, they began to familiarize themselves with the so-called 
Chinook jargon, which was a mixture of the real Chinook language 
with French, English, Algonkin and imitative sounds, all fused to- 
gether into a vehicle of expression of very general use among the 
Indian tribes of the lower Columbia Valley. 91 Two priests, however, 
fell far short of the number required for so extensive a field and 
Father Blanchet as vicar-general accordingly petitioned the Bishop of 
Quebec for reenforcements. 92 

In answer to this petition Bishop Signay decided to send two young 
priests, Langlois and Bolduc, to Oregon. The unwillingness, however, 
of the Hudson's Bay Company to furnish them passage to the West 
in one of its convoys, a favor it had extended to the two pioneer 

89 De Smet, Oregon Missions, p. 19. 

90 Shea, of. cit. 9 4: 311. 

91 Shea, of. tit.) 4: 312. 

92 The Quebec church authorities inquired of Father Chazelle, S.J., of Mon- 
treal whether he could send a priest of the Society, "of American origin," to the 
Columbia. Cazeau a Chazelle, June 1 2, 1 840. Quebec Archdiocesan Archives. 


priests, Blanchet and Demers, made it necessary for the prelate to 
send them by some other route. Believing that the route followed by 
De Smet might be taken also by the two priests, Signay addressed a 
letter of inquiry to Bishop Rosati of St. Louis: 

I was much edified to learn that your lordship has recently sent one of 
your priests to carry the light of the Gospel to the savages who inhabit that 
part of the United States territory which lies west of the Rocky Mountains, 
and that you would have given this courageous missionary a companion had 
you been better supplied with priestly laborers. May the Lord of the harvest 
give you the means to extend and perpetuate the work which you have begun. 

As for me, I was able, with God's help, in the spring of 1838, to send 
into the British territory beyond the Rocky Mountains, two priests belonging 
to my diocese, Messrs. Blanchet and Demers, to assume charge of a con- 
siderable number of Canadians who have settled there and to labor for the 
conversion of the natives. These courageous missionaries give me the most 
consoling reports of the_ eagerness shown by the Indians to be instructed, and 
urge me to send them helpers, adding that they need no fewer than six assist- 
ants to meet the needs of their charge. But, besides its not being possible for 
me to send so large a number, I have reason to believe that the Hudson Bay 
Company, which has the fur trade in all that vast territory, will not be so 
favorable to our work as it was at first. It was willing to give transportation 
to our two missionaries from Montreal to Vancouver, on the Columbia river, 
but it does not seem disposed to accord a like favor to those who might want 
to follow them and share their labors. Seeing ourselves, therefore, confined 
pretty much to our own resources and being unable to stand the immense 
expense that would be entailed by the transfer of the missionaries through the 
interior of the country for a distance of more than 1800 miles, we must try 
to get them to their destination by some other route. 93 

This communication of the Bishop of Quebec reached St. Louis dur- 
ing Rosati's absence from his episcopal see on an ad llmina visit to 
Rome. It was answered by Father Verhaegen as administrator of the 
diocese during the Bishop's absence: 

I received your pleasant letter of November 19 several days ago. Our 
worthy bishop being at present in Rome, I shall give you the information 
which your lordship asks of him. One of our Fathers left in the early part 
of last spring for the region lying west of the Rocky Mountains, and accord- 
ing to a letter which he had an opportunity to send me when he reached 
the foot of those mountains, I have reason to believe that he reached there 
without accident. The object that I proposed to myself in sending him was 
not to station him there, but to satisfy the Flatheads, who for more than 
five years have been asking the favor of being visited by a priest, and to 
satisfy myself in regard to the dispositions of these Indians and of others 
living in that region. Upon his return (and I look for it at the beginning of 

*RACHS, 19:314. 


next summer) we shall decide definitely whether or not to establish a per- 
manent mission there. We shall be guided entirely by the report that he gives 
us. I was aware, my lord, that there were two priests in the British territory, 
and the hope which I entertained that our zealous Father De Smet would 
meet with them there helped me greatly to a decision to allow him to go all 
alone. How delighted I should be, my lord, if you could increase the number 
of your priestly laborers! The obstacles to sending missionaries there and the 
expense of the journey are immense; but your zeal for the salvation of souls, 
my lord, will triumph over them. Here are the answers to your questions. 
Ordinarily, there are two steamboats a year which go to the Yellow Stone 
(la Roche Jaune)^ and from there to the mountains is not a great distance; 
but those who leave for the mountains do not make use of these opportunities, 
because a large number of mules is needed to continue the journey from the 
Yellow Stone, and these mules for transporting baggage and travelers cannot 
be carried aboard a boat. Those persons who wish to go farther than the 
Yellow Stone and to cross the mountains have but one opportunity a year, 
in the early spring, about the 1 5th of March. At that time a party is made up 
at St. Louis. The members of it leave here by boat and stop at Westfort or 
Independence) near the western frontier of Missouri. There they procure 
horses, mules, provisions, etc., etc. and make the rest of the journey by land. 
As to the expenses from here to the mountains, you would have to allow 
nearly four thousand francs [eight hundred dollars] for each missionary. 
There is no difficulty about securing permission to join one of these parties; 
priests especially have none whatever. The expenses of a journey for a mis- 
sionary from Washington to St. Louis would not exceed two hundred and 
fifty francs, unless he should have baggage for the transportation of which 
he would have to pay. If your lordship decides to send helpers to the reverend 
gentlemen who are already laboring in the vineyard, we shall be happy to 
render the missionaries any service in our power. . . . 

P. S. I have unsealed my letter to tell you, my lord, that Father De Smet 
has just returned from the mountains. Everything appears favorable to our 
project. It is, therefore, very probable, not to say certain, that some Fathers 
will leave here in the month of March. The good Father did not see the 
reverend gentlemen, but he wrote to them. 94 

Though Father De Smet and the two pioneer priests of Oregon 
did not meet on the occasion of the Jesuit's first journey to the moun- 
tains in 1 840, they were brought into mutual communication by letter. 
A somewhat vague report that Catholic missionaries had arrived among 
the Flatheads led Father Demers, while on a missionary trip to the 
upper Columbia country, to indite a letter dated. Camp o the Pend 
d'Oreilles, August 6, 1840, and addressed to the "Reverendes Pretres, 
Missionaires Catholiques y Aux Tetes-Plates" Said Demers: 

Though I have not as yet the pleasure of knowing your names, I eagerly 
take the opportunity which is presented to send you news of the two poor 
BRACES, 19:317. 


missionaries of the Columbia, knowing that I am writing to Catholic priests, 
ministers of our holy religion, who have generously come to sacrifice them- 
selves for the salvation of the savages. With what joy and contentment have 
I learned of your arrival among the Flatheads! 95 

On August 10, four days later than the date of Demers's communi- 
cation, De Smet addressed a note from the Jefferson Fork of the Mis- 
souri River to Blanchet, announcing his arrival in the mountains and 
the object of his visit. His letter reached Blanchet apparently at St. 
PauPs on the Willamette: 

Your Reverence will be glad to learn that Mgr. Rosati, Bishop of St. 
Louis, in conceit with my provincial Superior of the Society of Jesus in Mis- 
souri and in compliance with the desires often repeated, of the Flat-Heads, 
Pend d'Oreilles and a great number of Nez Perces, has sent me to the Rocky 
Mountains to visit these missions. I have found the two first in the best de- 
sirable disposition, well resolved to stand by the true children of Jesus Christ. 
The few weeks I had the happiness to pass among them have been the hap- 
piest of my life and give me the firm hope, with the grace of God, to see 
soon in this country, so long forsaken, the fervor of the first Christians. Since 
I am among them I have three, four and five instructions daily. They cannot 
be tired, all come to my lodge at the first ringing of the bell. They are 
anxious to lose none of my words relating to these instructions on these 
heavenly subjects, and if I had the strength to speak to them they would 
willingly listen to me whole days and nights. I have baptized about 200 of 
their little children and I expect to baptize in a short time 150 adults. 96 

Shortly after the arrival of De Smet and his party in the Bitter 
Root Valley in the autumn of 1841 he received a communication from 
Blanchet. Written from Fort Vancouver, several hundred miles to the 
west of the Jesuit Flathead Mission, it enters into interesting details 
concerning the status of Catholicism in the lower Columbia Valley 
and concludes with an earnest appeal to De Smet to establish a mis- 
sionary post in that part of Oregon: 

Blessed be the Divine Providence of the all-powerful God who has pro- 
tected, preserved and restored you safely to your dear neophytes. 

I congratulate the country upon the inestimable treasure it possesses by 
the arrival and establishment therein of the members of the Society of Jesus. 
Be so kind as to express to the Reverend Fathers and Brothers my profound 
veneration and respect for them. I beg of God to bless your labors, and to 
continue your successful efforts. In a few years you will enjoy the glory and 
consolation of beholding through your means all the savages residing on the 
head waters of the Columbia, ranging themselves under the standard of the 

95 CR, De Smet, 4:1551. 

96 Palladino, of. dt^ p. 34. 


Cross. I do not doubt but that our excellent governor, Dr. McLoughlin, will 
give you all the assistance in his power. It is very fortunate for our holy re- 
ligion, that this noble-hearted man should be at the head of the affairs of 
the honorable Hudson Bay Company, west of the Rocky Mountains. He pro- 
tected it before our arrival in these regions. He still gives it his support by word 
and example, and many favors. As we are in the same country, aiming at the 
same end, namely the triumph of the holy Catholic faith throughout this vast 
territory, the Rev. Mr. Demers and myself will always take the most lively 
interest in your welfare and progress, and we are convinced that whatever 
concerns us will equally interest you. . . . 

Judge then, Sir, how great are our labors and how much it would advance 
our mutual interest, were you to send hither one of your Rev. Fathers, with 
one of the three lay-brothers. In my opinion, it is on this spot that we must 
seek to establish our holy religion. It is here that we should have a college, 
convent, and schools. It is here that one day a successor of the Apostles will 
come from some part of the world to settle, and provide for the spiritual 
necessities of this vast region, which, moreover, promises such an abundant 
harvest. Here is the field of battle, where we must in the first place gain 
the victory. It is here that we must establish a beautiful mission. From the 
lower stations the Missionaries and Rev. Fathers could go forth in all direc- 
tions to supply the distant stations, and announce the word of God to the 
infidels still plunged in darkness and the shadows of death. If your plans 
should not permit you to change the place of your establishment, at least 
take into consideration the need in which we stand of a Rev. Father and of a 
lay-brother to succor us in our necessities. 97 

To this petition of the vicar-general of the Bishop of Quebec was 
joined another of the same tenor from Dr. John McLoughlin, chief 
factor of the Hudson's Bay Company with headquarters at Fort Van- 
couver, of which he was the founder. Though not openly professing 
Catholicism at this date, he extended a most cordial invitation to 
Father De Smet to lend aid to the two Canadian priests then labor- 
ing in lower Oregon. "I am fully convinced that the most effectual 
mode to diffuse the doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church in this 
part of the world is by establishing it on a good foundation in the 
Willamette and Cowlitz among the settlers as the Indians will join 
themselves in what they see done by the whites. . . . But if one of 
you with one or two of the lay brothers could come to assist Messrs. 
Blanchette and Demers till their reinforcement came from Canada, it 
would be an immense benefit to religion." 9S 

Both to procure supplies for the Flathead Mission and to confer 
with Fathers Blanchet and Demers as well as with Dr. McLoughlin 
in regard to the plans they had broached in their communications, 

97 De Smet, Letters and Sketches, p. 229. 

98 CR, De Smetf 4: 1555, 


De Smet undertook a journey to the lower Columbia in the spring 
of 1842. At the Little Dalles he had the sad experience of seeing five 
of his boatmen drowned by the upsetting of a skiff in the whirlpool 
waters of the Columbia. By a kindly dispensation of Providence he was 
not himself in the boat at the moment, having a few moments before 
gone ashore to walk along the bank. At Fort Vancouver, where he 
arrived June 8, he had the happiness of meeting Blanchet and Demers. 
"A scene here ensued so affecting and edifying," records Archbishop 
Seghers, "that it drew tears from the eyes of the only witness present, 
Father Demers, from whose lips we received the moving narrative. 
No sooner had Father De Smet descried the vicar-general than he 
ran to prostrate himself at his feet, imploring his blessing j and no 
sooner had the Very Rev. Blanchet caught sight of the valiant mis- 
sionary than he also fell on his knees, imploring the blessing of the 
saintly Jesuit." " "Rev. Father De Smet made his appearance at Van- 
couver at the beginning of the current month," Blanchet informed the 
Bishop of Quebec. "Mr. Demers, who happened to be there, accom- 
panied him to St. Paul where he spent eight days with us forming plans 
best calculated to further the work of the Lord in this country." And 
to Bishop Rosati of St. Louis Blanchet wrote at the same time: "Mr. 
Demers and myself have finally had the consolation of seeing Reverend 
Father De Smet. Everything he has told us of the mission among the 
Flatheads has filled us with joy because of the prodigious blessings and 
graces which accompany the apostolic labors of this holy missionary. I 
cannot but wish to see in the Columbia [Valley] an increase in the 
number of priests of the Society of Jesus, so fervent and so filled with 
the spirit of their calling." Later, October, 1842, Blanchet wrote to the 
Bishop of Quebec: "I rejoice to see that this country is going to fall 
in regard to spirituals under the learned and enlightened direction of 
the Jesuits." 10 

After a careful survey of the situation, De Smet determined to fol- 
low the advice of Blanchet and McLoughlin and open in the Willa- 
mette Valley a residence of the Society of Jesus which might serve as 
' headquarters and base of supplies for all the Jesuit missions in Oregon. 
To obtain the vice-provincial's sanction for this important step and to 
solicit from him permission to make a trip to Europe in the interests 
of the new missionary field in the Pacific Northwest, De Smet now 
resolved on returning to St. Louis. The appointment of a bishop for 
Oregon was also a matter which he undertook to urge with the proper 
authorities. Turning his face once more to the East, he travelled by 

99 Cited in Palladino, of. dt. y p. 50. 

100 Blanchet a Signay, June 24, 184.2; Blanchet a Rosati, June 20, 18425 
Blanchet a Signay, October 28, 1842. Quebec Archdiocesan Archives. 


way of the Flathead Mission, where he left instructions for the opening 
of missions among the Coeur d'Alenes and the Kalispels. After months 
of painful journeying he reached St. Louis in October, 1842: 

On the last Sunday of October, at twelve o'clock, I was kneeling at the 
foot of St. Mary's altar in the Cathedral offering up my thanksgiving to 
God for the signal protection he had extended to his poor, unworthy servant. 
From the beginning of April I had travelled 5,000 miles. I had descended 
and ascended the dangerous Columbia river. I had seen five of my companions 
perish in one of those life-destroying whirlpools, so justly dreaded by those 
who navigate that stream. I had traversed the Willamette, crossed the Rocky 
Mountains, passed through the country of the Blackfeet, the desert of the 
Yellowstone, and Ascended the Missouri; and in all these journeys I had not 
received the slightest injury. "Dominus memor fuit nostri et benedixlt 
nobls." 101 

A few days later than De Smet's arrival in St. Louis Father Ver- 
haegen made appeal to the General for aid in the new missionary 

Our good and zealous Father De Smet arrived here last month in excel- 
lent health. Knowing the great interest which your Paternity takes in the 
success of the great mission which he has commenced beyond the Rocky 
Mountains I hasten to forward the relation which he has sent me [Fourche 
a Madison, 15 Aout, 1842]. He begs me to tell you, Very Reverend Father, 
that he will write to you in a few days. 

The details he has given us about the Indians of the far away regions 
which have become the theater of his apostolic labors have filled our hearts 
with the sweetest consolation. All our Fathers burn with the desire of accom- 
panying him thither next spring. How I regret not being able to yield to 
the entreaties which some are making to me to obtain this favor. The thing 
seems to me impracticable. Everywhere, but especially in the colleges, there 
are complaints of lack of personnel. Be so good, then, dear Father, as to think 
of this fine work. As Father De Smet will leave only next April, the Fathers 
whom your Paternity will send us can easily arrive here before that time. 
Three Belgian Fathers would do wonders on this mission. 102 


A letter from Bishop Signay of Quebec to Bishop Rosati of St. 
Louis, December 31, 1842, states that the principal matter discussed 
between Fathers Blanchet and De Smet at their meeting of June, 1842, 
was the ecclesiastical organization of Oregon Territory and its erection 
into a diocese. To interest the American prelates in this project and 

101 CR, De Smet, i : 402. 

103 Verhaegen a Roothaan, November I, 1842. (AA). 


secure aid for the proposed diocese were, according to the Bishop of 
Quebec, the chief reasons that led De Smet to return to St. Louis in 
1842. Having asked Rosati his opinion as to the limits of the diocese 
and in particular whether it should embrace any territory east of the 
Rocky Mountains, Signay went on to say: 

Reverend Father De Smet is in my opinion the man best suited for the 
place and this by reason of his capacity as a missionary, his knowledge of the 
country, and his relations with a great number of influential people in Europe 
who are in a position to lend aid to his missions. 

It would also be in place to come to some understanding as to the name 
which the projected diocese is to bear and perhaps as to the place in which 
the new bishop is to establish his see. Your Grace must have received from 
Father De Smet either viva voce or in writing the information which my 
Vicar-General has forgotten to send me. 

I have omitted to say to your Grace when speaking of the choice of a 
bishop for Oregon Territory that Mr. Blanchet, who might be considered 
in this connection, earnestly begs to be passed over. I only wish the rules 
of the Society of Jesus will put no obstacle in the way of Father De Smet's 
acceptance of this dignity. 103 

This letter of the Bishop of Quebec to Rosati was answered by his 
coadjutor, Bishop Peter Richard Kenrick, who expressed the opinion 
that neither De Smet nor any other Jesuit would accept the new 
bishopric of Oregon. The Quebec prelate thereupon wrote to Kenrick, 
March 14, 1843: 

Since your lordship judges that neither Father De Smet nor any other 
Jesuit priest would accept the burden of the diocese west of the Rocky Moun- 
tains, the erection of which we are about to request, it is necessary that Mr. 
Blanchet, in spite of his repugnance, consent to accept it. I shall therefore 
make it my duty to recommend him to the Holy See for the episcopate, at the 
same time that I solicit the erection of the new diocese. But for this I shall 
wait until the Fathers of the Council which is to be held at Baltimore next 
May have resolved to recommend the same priest to the Holy See in order 
that this onerous charge shall be given him. I am sure your lordship will in- 
form me on the subject before your return to St. Louis. 

I think that the proposed diocese should include all the territory between 
the arctic circle on the north, California on the south, the Rocky Moun- 
tains on the east and the Pacific Ocean on the west; and that the bishop 
who is to bear the burden of it should take his title from Vancouver, which 
is the headquarters of the Hudson Bay Company's establishments beyond the 
Rocky Mountains and from which it is easier to hold communications with 
all parts of the country. However, Father De Smet, who has been in those 

108 Signay a Rosati, December 31, 1842. Quebec Archdiocesan Archives. A 
letter of the Bishop of Quebec, April 27, 1841, to the Propaganda petitions that 
the Mission of the Columbia be placed under another bishop. 


parts, may perhaps entertain a different opinion from mine on these two 
points, and I shall be very glad if he make it known to your lordship so that 
I may act accordingly in my request to the Holy See. 

I think it right, my lord, to leave to you the charge of taking the necessary 
measures with His Grace, the Archbishop of Baltimore, for the realization 
of our plans in favor of the poor faithful and the unbelievers in Oregon terri- 
tory. I shall wait to write to Rome until after you shall have had the goodness 
to let me know to what conclusion you have come. 104 

The Fifth Provincial Council of Baltimore assembled in May, 1843. 
Concerning the Church in Oregon it recommended to the Holy See 
the erection of a vicariate-apostolic west of the Rocky Mountains, and 
notwithstanding the well-known unwillingness of members of the So- 
ciety of Jesus to accept of ecclesiastical dignities except under a special 
charge of obedience, it forwarded to Rome the names of three Jesuit 
fathers of the vice-province of Missouri as competent to discharge the 
duties of the proposed vicariate. The motives determining this action 
of the council are revealed in a communication from Bishop Kenrick 
to the Bishop of Quebec: 

In accordance with the promise I made you, in answer to Your Grace's 
letter of March I2th, I have the honor to inform you that the Council just 
closed at Baltimore recommended that the Holy See form a vicariate-apostolic 
west of the Rocky Mountains in the territory called Oregon. Three names 
were submitted to the Holy See for choice. They are: 

Father Pierre de Smet, of the Society of Jesus, 

" Nicholas Point, of the same Society, 

" Pierre Verheyden, of the same Society. 

The motive which determined the fathers of the Council to recommend 
the erection of a vicariate-apostolic rather than a bishopric was the difficulty 
about fixing upon a see for the new bishop, because of the differences between 
our two governments with regard to Oregon. They believed it best to ask 
the Holy See to confide the new vicariate to a Jesuit, and especially to Father 
De Smet, because they considered that this mission, in order to succeed, 
should be entrusted principally to the Jesuits, so that these good fathers may 
interest themselves more and more in it and send it further aid. True it is 
that the Jesuits do not usually accept the episcopal dignity, but it was thought 
that this difficulty would not hold good when it is a question of a mission 
among the Indians. I hope, my Lord, that this action on the part of the 
Council will meet with your approval and that you will support it at Rome 
with the weight of your authority. 105 

The Bishop of Quebec did not hesitate to express his acquiescence 
in the choice made at Baltimore. He wrote to Kenrick: 

104 Signay a Kenrick, March 14., 1843. Tr. in RACHS, 19: 321, 322. 

106 Kenrick a Signay, Philadelphia, Ma/ 29, 1843. Tr. in RACHS, 18:460. 


Although I had already forewarned Mr. Blanche! that he might expect 
to be burdened with the care of the diocese that there is question of erecting 
beyond the Rocky Mountains, I nevertheless make it my duty to support the 
decision of the Fathers of the Baltimore Council with the Holy See, because 
I consider that our holy religion can but gain more advantages therefrom. 
Yet, as I had invited my colleagues in Canada to sign testimonial letters in 
favor of Mr. Blanchet, I am forwarding these letters to the Holy See with 
a request in favor of this missionary in case it be judged not appropriate to 
force the Jesuit Fathers recommended for the episcopate by the Council, to 
accept a dignity which is almost prohibited them by the rules of their Society. 
... as to what concerns the bishop to whom the proposed diocese shall be 
confided, I shall be all the more content that the recommendation of the 
Council be followed, as Mr. Blanchet shows much opposition to the great 
dignity that it is desired to confer upon him. 106 

In the event Blanchet and not De Smet, the nominee at Baltimore, 
was appointed to the new Vicariate-apostolic of Oregon, which Gregory 
XVI created by a brief dated December i, i843. 107 The vicariate em- 
braced "all the territory between the Mexican province of California 
on the South, and the Russian province of Alaska on the north" and 
extended "from the Pacific Ocean to the Rocky Mountains." 108 Vari- 
ous circumstances combined to make Blanchet and not De Smet the 
incumbent of the new vicariate. The terna forwarded by the Baltimore 
council was submitted by the Sacred Congregation to Father Grassi, 
assistant for Italy to the Jesuit General, who was asked to report his 
opinion. Grassi had some acquaintance with American affairs, having 
been for some years superior of the Maryland Mission. His opinion 
was that Blanchet would be a better* choice than De Smet. 109 Moreover, 
the latter, who was then in Rome, appealed directly to Father Roothaan 
to make effort to save him from the dignity that was being prepared for 
him. On the occasion, a few years later, when it was falsely rumored 

106 Signay a Kenrick, June 12, 1843. Tr. in RACHS, 19: 323, 324. 

107 Signay in his letter of June 12, 1843, to Kenrick had recommended the 
erection beyond the Rocky Mountains of a regular diocese rather than a vicariate- 

108 Shea, of. ^.,4:316. 

109 Acta S. Congr. Prop., 1843 (Archives of the Sacred Congregation of the 
Propaganda, Rome). "II P. Pietro De Smet Gesuita, nativa del Belgio Fondatore 
della Missione dei Selvaggi nel Territorio del Oregon, converrebe molto bene all 
officio di Vicario Apostolico. 2. II P. Point Gesuita francese non sarebbe a pro- 
posito se P. Verheyden e ancora troppo giovene (Sentimento de M. Rosati, Vescovo 
di S. Luis dimondata a Parigi) ." Father Grassi's report to the Congregation is dated 
July 1 6, 1843. September 18 the Congregation recommended that Oregon be 
erected into a vicariate-apostolic with Blanchet as bishop. The Pope, Gregory XVI, 
approved September 24, 1843. 


that certain members of the Society were deprecating the appointment 
of Canadians to bishoprics, Father Roothaan wrote to an American 
superior: "It is known at the Propaganda that I refused for Father De 
Smet, conformably to his desire as also to the line of conduct I have 
set myself, the title of Vicar-apostolic of Oregon and that it was in 
pursuance of the very idea suggested to me by Father De Smet himself 
that Bishop Blanchet was chosen." 110 

Writing from Quebec in July, 1843, Bishop Signay had advised 
Blanchet that he was the choice of the Canadian bishops for the new 

Despite your repugnance to accepting this dignity, of which we are fully 
aware, a recommendation was drawn up and signed by the bishops of Upper 
and Lower Canada. But now the Council recently convened in Baltimore, 
which took this important matter under consideration, adopts a different stand 
from the one we were expecting. Bishop Kenrick, the Coadjutor of St. Louis, 
who from the very first had been of the opinion of Father De Smedt, informs 
me that the Fathers of the Council petition that a vicariate-apostolic be erected 
west of the Rocky Mountains instead of a diocese and this by reason of the 
difficulty of fixing the see of the new bishop in view of the differences exist- 
ing between the two governments. Moreover, persuaded that the missions of 
Oregon, if they are to succeed, Bought to be entrusted to the Jesuits, they ask 
for Father De Smedt as bishop, having sent his name to Rome together with 
those of two other Jesuits. In addition to this information from Bishop Ken- 
rick we know from other sources that Father De Smedt is at present in 
Rome. We have no doubt that if Father De Smedt or some other Jesuit 
accepts the episcopate you will be very glad of it for we know how you dread 
its burden. . . . However, if the contrary happens, we persist in our inten- 
tion to recommend your name and have actually forwarded it to Rome. We 
have sent to Rome our recommendation in your favor together with the sup- 
plication by which, with the Council of Baltimore, we ask for a bishop for 
Oregon although we differ from that august assembly as to the title which 
the new bishop ought to take. m 

Political conditions have sometimes to be reckoned with in the 
appointment of bishops as was probably the case in the present instance. 
To the Baltimore prelates De Smet, an American by adoption, probably 
appeared a more prudent choice tHan Blanchet, a Canadian, as the 
Church's representative in a country then in dispute between Great 
Britain and the United States. Perhaps Bishop Kenrick hints at this 
consideration in a letter to his brother prelate of Quebec: 

110 Roothaan a Boulanger, Nov. 26, 184.7. (AA). Palladino (op. cit., p. 55), 
without indicating his source of information, says that De Smet was spared the 
episcopal office as the result of his own protest and that of the Father General. 

111 Signay a Blanchet, July 13, 1843. Quebec Archdiocesan Archives. 


I share your Grace's satisfaction in regard to Mr. Bachelet [Blanchet], 
whose merits I am perfectly aware of, thanks to the information furnished 
by Father De Smet. I would have chosen him myself and it was only from a 
motive of prudence that the Fathers of the recent Council refrained from 
recommending him to the Holy See. llla The information your Grace has in 
regard to Father De Smet's journey is quite correct. He did not come to 
St. Louis but has returned to his Mission by sea. Very likely the intelligence 
communicated to you by the Bishop of Heliopolis is true, as this good Father 
takes a very lively interest in everything that concerns Mr. Bachelet 
[Blanchet]. I do not doubt that under the direction of this zealous ecclesiastic 
now raised to the episcopate and with the cooperation which the Fathers of the 
Society of Jesus will lend him, religion will make new gains in that far-away 
country. 112 

Meantime Father Blanchet, at world's end in the wilds of Oregon, 
was long in receiving word of his appointment. Under date of April 
12, 1844, the Bishop of Quebec sent him the news: 

Although the Fathers of the Council of Baltimore recommended the Holy 
See to commit the care of it [the new vicariate-apostolic] to Father De 
Smedt, he showed himself so reluctant that he has succeeded in escaping the 
burden they wished to lay upon his shoulders only to have it fall back upon 
the worthy founder of the mission, which has just been erected into a vicariate- 
apostolic. If I deserve any blame for having sought to have you made the 
recipient of a dignity which you are so far from ambitioning, the good Father 

in* \vhat do you think of a bishop for the Rocky Mountains? Father De 
Smet thinks it highly necessary; and he was the bearer of a letter from a re- 
spectable clergyman who is the pastor of a congregation on the Wallamette, a 
tributary to the Columbia, in which he urges Bishop Rosati to use his influence in 
getting Father De Smet appointed Bishop of that region; whereas the latter holy 
missionary thinks Rev. Mr. Blanchet, the clergyman in question, the fittest person 
in the world for the contemplated or rath w er the proposed see. I have had to send 
the letter to Bishop Rosati to Rome and would be glad to profit by your views 
before expressing my own, which are favorable to the appointment of M. Blanchet 
and in which Bishop Rosati, as he> is fond of making bishops, might at once act." 
Kenrick to Purcell, January i, 1843. (*) 

112 Kenrick a Signay, March 21, 1844. Quebec Archdiocesan Archives. Cardinal 
Acton had already written Signay September 26, 1843: "The Holy See has deigned 
to listen to your prayers and to afford you relief in your apostolic labors by ap- 
pointing an ecclesiastic to take in charge the extensive territory of the Columbia 
and by choosing for the episcopal dignity the same individual whom your lordship 
in his wisdom had sent to that great mission and who had been recommended by 
the worthy Bishops of Canada to the Congregation. When the decrees shall have 
been prepared, your lordship will receive official advice of the choice of Monselgneur 
Blanchet for the Columbia, but I think I can assure you that his Holiness has fully 
approved the decision of the Propaganda." Acton a Signay, September 26, 1843. 
Quebec Archdiocesan Archives. The brief of appointment was dated December I, 


deserves much more, for he has worked harder than myself to have it con- 
ferred on you. As he is on the ground you can show your resentment over 
it at your convenience. 113 

This communication from the Bishop of Quebec reached Blanchet 
on November 4, 1 844, several weeks after his meeting with De Smet 
on the latter^s return from Europe in August, 1844. O n Novem- 
ber 25 of the same year, by which time De Smet was already in the 
mountains, Blanchet wrote to him: 

The Bishop of Quebec has told me that he is not the only one who 
worked to have the burden of the episcopate fall upon me, that you have had 
as much to do with it as himself and that I must throw the blame on you in 
particular. Well, I say it in all good humor, Reverend Father, you have 
done me a bad turn. In your efforts to avoid it [the episcopate] you should, 
knowing my attitude, have reserved the embarrassment for some one else 
besides your friend. You have, then, failed as a friend, you will have a share 
also in the responsibility and in the account which you must one day render 
for this mistake. The affair is, alas! consummated. I must go ahead and 
leave even tomorrow for Europe! Aid me at least with the assistance of your 
prayers; help your friend to get out of the fix as handsomely as he can. Do 
not abandon me in the moment of danger; come to my assistance with all 
your good Fathers and dear Brothers. 

The Mission of Oregon is erected into a vicariate-apostolic and I am the 
very unworthy vicar apostolic. We lack Sisters, Brothers of the Christian 
Schools, priests, Fathers for the Indians and for the Americans. I am going 
to seek them. Better now than later on. This journey costs me a good deal, 
but I offer up as a sacrifice the repugnance I feel in regard to it. 

Mr. Demers stays part of the time at the Wallamet. The Falls will then 
be deprived of a missionary as will also be Tualate [ ? ] , where there are many 
Americans very well disposed. It is the same with Yanhill. Father De Vos 
will try to visit this last post. Vancouver is going to be without a priest unless 
Father De Vos allows a Father to go there. The Fathers say that they are 
sent for the Mountains, that they belong to the States and not to British terri- 
tory; to settle within the limits of the latter they would need the permission 
of Very Rev. Father General. As a result, no mission in the Bay [Puget 
Sound] or in Caledonia. What then, are the Fathers going to do? What will 

113 Signay a Blanchet, April 12, 1844. Quebec Archdiocesan Archives. Cf. also 
Signay a Kenrick, February 24, 1844. "I am inclined to believe that Reverend 
Father De Smet went to Rome last summer, that lie left nothing undone to get rid 
of the burden they wished to impose upon him and that it was at his solicitation 
that Mr. Blanchet has been substituted for him. I shall send Mr. Blanchet the 
document of the Roman Curia next spring through the service of the Hudson's Bay 
Company." Cf. also words of the Coadjutor-bishop of Quebec, June, 1843: 
"Je sals que le R.P. De S. a frit le Coadj. de St. L. de le [Blanchet} recommender 
au Concile comme tres digne d'etre flromove a cette dignite." 


become of the Indians: Should the ministers come, they will take complete 
possession of them. 

See, Reverend Father, what you can do for the Indians. I recommend 
to you the Mission of the Bay and that of Caledonia; next, a Father for a 
mission on the Columbia river near Mr. McKay's [?] farm. Please come 
down early in the spring and take measures with Rev. Father De Vos. They 
tell me Father Soderini speaks English; he would do well at the Falls. Gen- 
eral McCarver has spoken to me of the impression made upon him by read- 
ing Dr. Milner's lectures. Dr. Long has received a similar impression. Mr. 
Clark, thoroughgoing minister though he be, has also read this work. I dare 
say that with the influence you have you would gain over all the Americans 
in a year or two, if you were to reside with them. 

Remember me to your Fathers in the Mountains as also to your dear 
Brothers. Be also kind enough to recommend me to the prayers of your good 
Indians. They will never forget that you have been their first Father, that in 
this regard they owe you their salvation. Nor, shall we, on our part forget 
what gratitude the country owes you for the journeys, the hardships and 
fatigues in so great a number to which you have exposed yourself for the 
glory of God. In vain has the devil been wishing to show his vexation, to 
rise up and scold you; the good is done, he will remain humiliated. The 
Fathers and Sisters are there and will go on doing good; and the benefits 
and advantages which the country derives therefrom, we owe under God to 
you. The Lord has inspired you, given you courage and strength. Success 
has crowned the work. Once again be pleased to accept my very lively grati- 
tude as also that of this country in general. 114 

Blanchet's route to Montreal where he was to receive consecration 
was a circuitous one. Having crossed the Columbia bar on December 
5, he sailed by way of Honolulu, Cape Horn, Liverpool and Boston, 
the voyage lasting six months. From London he addressed a letter to 
Father Roothaan, May 29, 1845: 

The mission or rather the vicariate-apostolic of Oregon ought to be very 
dear to you since it numbers a dozen of your children, Reverend [fathers] 
of the Society of Jesus. Appointed to the high dignity of vicar-apostolic of the 
country and accepting it only with regret so as not to retard the good that 
must be done, I decided to proceed to Canada and thence to Europe in the 
interests of my vicariate. I have proposed especially to visit the Holy City and 
throw myself at the feet of the Holy Father to offer him the homage of a 

114 Blanchet a De Smet, November 25, 1844. (A). Signay, now Archbishop of 
Quebec, wrote to Blanchet: "How you must have been comforted to see coming to 
your aid five disciples of St. Ignatius and several excellent nuns all burning with 
desire to second you in your work. ... I hope Father De Smedt will have 
relieved you of all your scruples and that you have made your sacrifice with a 
generous heart." Signay a Blanchet, April 15, 1845. Quebec Archdiocesan Archives. 
In the event the Puget Sound district was never included in the Jesuit field of 
operations, at least in De Smet's time. There is no record that lie ever visi.ted it. 


deep veneration. Another motive was that I might discuss with you, Reverend 
Father, the sending of twelve more Fathers to Oregon. But my financial 
means are so straitened that I shall have to renounce this purpose of mine and 
do by letter what could be done much better viva voce. There is question of 
getting possession of several very important Indian posts before the Protestant 
missionaries come and sow error. These posts are: ist New Caledonia, situ- 
ated to the north of the Columbia river, 300 leagues from Fort Vancouver, 
towards the sources of the Frazer River. The Indians of the country have re- 
ceived the faith, have had their children baptized and beg earnestly for a 
priest, and Puget Bay [Sound], which is to the west of the above mentioned 
Caledonia and on the Pacific seaboard. There also the Indians have received 
the faith, have had their children baptized and cry aloud for missionaries. 
Four would be needed in New Caledonia, two in Puget Bay, one on Van- 
couver Island, two on Queen Charlotte Island, which is very populous and 
as large as England. 3rd Walla Walla, 80 leagues from Fort Vancouver on 
the Columbia, and also a very important post. The Protestant ministers who 
are some distance away are taking away from us such Indians as have re- 
ceived the faith. Either there or close by we should need three or four mis- 
sionaries. If to all this you add the establishment of Lake St. Ignatius [St. 
Paul's], a college, the serving of three posts or settlements of American 
farmers, the charge of the parish of St. Paul, of the convent in the same 
place, and also of Fort Vancouver and of St. Francis Xavier at Cowlitz, you 
will have some small idea how pressing it is to increase the number of mis- 
sionaries in my vicariate-apostolic. Be so kind then, Reverend Father, as to see 
what you will be able to do for me this year and how many new Fathers you 
can let me have. It would be very serviceable if some among them knew 
English; otherwise your Fathers in Oregon find themselves hampered in their 
operations, not having been sent, so they will say, except for the Flathead 
country in the Rocky Mountains, a region more than 200 leagues from Fort 
Vancouver. Furthermore, they feel also a repugnance to establishing them- 
selves close to the Columbia or to the north, which is supposed British terri- 
tory 5 so it would be very well that your Fathers be at liberty to establish 
themselves and to go and work wherever need presses most. 

Please to accept, Reverend Father, the assurance of my lively gratitude 
for the services which your Reverend Fathers have begun to render to my 
vicariate, which will be entirely Catholic if we only set to work in good 
season. 116 

In Montreal, July 25, 1845, Father Blanchet was consecrated 
Bishop of Drasa in Qartibus. 1 Proceeding to Europe where he en- 
listed recruits, including seven Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, for 
the new missionary-field in Oregon, the Vicar-apostolic dn his arrival 
in Rome represented to the Holy See the necessity of sectionizing his 

115 Blanchet a Roothaan, May 29, 1845. (AA). 

116 Blanchet's original titular see of Philadelphia had been changed to that of 
Drasa to avoid confusion with the American see of the same name. 


vast vicariate. In a memorial of some sixty pages which he presented 
to the Sacred Congregation of the Propaganda he embodied a rather 
startling plan, in view of the mere handful of Catholics in the terri- 
tory, for the erection of the vicariate into an archdiocese with metro- 
politan see at Oregon City and with seven suffragan sees dependent 
thereon. 117 Clearly he expected that the Catholic population of Oregon 
was about to go forward by leaps and bounds. "In these last years," said 
the memoir, "the civilized population has increased at a rapid rate. 
Present-day events are daily hastening development and it is certain 
that in a few years we shall count populous towns, where now are 
found barely a few settlers grouped around a trading-post. Whatever 
happens, the policy of the United States is to seize the disputed terri- 
tory by the actual fact [of settlement]." In a letter from Rome to 
Bishop Turgeon, Coadjutor of Quebec, the Oregon prelate explained 
that for the moment only three sees should have incumbents, those, 
namely, of Oregon City, Walla Walla and Vancouver Island. The 
other sees were to be filled as need demanded. The plan was similar 
to the one adopted by the Propaganda in regard to Australia. Inci- 
dentally, Blanchet expressed the view that the missions of Paraguay and 
California owed their fall to lack of bishops and native priests. 118 

In accordance, therefore, with Blanchet's plan, somewhat modified, 
Gregory XVI by a brief dated July 24, 1 846, erected the archiepiscopal 
see of Oregon City and the dioceses of Walla Walla and Vancouver 
Island, together with the districts of Nesqually, Fort Hall, Colville, 
Princess Charlotte and New Caledonia. Of these, Vancouver Island, 
Princess Charlotte, New Caledonia and a part of Colville were in 
British territory. Simultaneously with the creation of the new dio- 
ceses, Father Demers, the companion of Father Blanchet in his pioneer 
labors in Oregon, was appointed to the see of Vancouver Island, and 
charged, moreover, with the administration- of the two other districts 
lying in British territory. At the same time, Father Magloire Blanchet, 
a canon of Montreal and a brother of Archbishop Blanchet, was named 
to the see of Walla Walla, besides being charged provisionally with 
the districts of Fort Hall and Colville. The metropolitan see of the 
entire province was fixed at Oregon City, founded at the Falls of the 
Willamette by John McLoughlin. The remarkable thing about these 
ecclesiastical arrangements is their elaborateness, in contrast to the small 
Catholic population and the few priests in the Oregon country at this 
period. The archdiocese of Oregon City was the first to be organized 

117 A copy of the memoir is in the Quebec Archdiocesan Archives. 

118 Blanchet a Turgeon, May 18, 1846. Quebec Archdiocesan Archives. As a 
matter of fact, the missions both in Paraguay and California were virtually de- 
stroyed by unfriendly governments. 


in the United States after that of Baltimore. It antedates in origin the 
archdiocese of St. Louis, which was erected in i847. 110 

The Blanchet memorial touches on the work of the Jesuits in 
Oregon. In view of the new ecclesiastical organization which he pro- 
posed the prelate thought their central establishment at the Willa- 
mette to be "superfluous," though it was originally at his instance that 
it had been opened. 1 - "It will on the contrary be of infinite advantage 
to transfer it to some point in the vast country which I shall propose 
to your Eminences to entrust to the zeal of those indefatigable workers. 
This will be a very effective means in their hands of adding to the 
four flourishing Christian centers they already possess under the titles 
of St. Mary, St. Joseph, St. Peter and St. Michael. 121 At this point will 
be the permanent residence of the particular bishop of the country as 
also the base on which they can support themselves so as to give to those 
same missions the stability that will insure their future" (p. 20). The 
missionary area which it was proposed to assign to the Jesuits is de- 

It would be possible to assign to the Reverend Fathers of the Society of 
Jesus the immense territory formed by uniting three of the projected bishoprics 
[Walla Walla, Fort Hall, Colville], this being the jurisdiction proposed for 
Walla Walla. . . . The four missions of the Jesuits are to be found in that 
region. It may be that at first your Eminences will find that in dividing up 
the entire territory I assign too great a share to the Fathers of the Society of 
Jesus. That would be true if there was question of a country already evan- 
gelized for some time back. But our missions are only beginning; those that 
depend on Walla Walla are, it is true, in a better state than the missions to 
the north of Oregon [New Caledonia]. Still even there the work is so far 
barely sketched out and hence there is no impropriety in letting all this ground 
be broken by such zealous missionaries. When later on some thousands of 
Christian converts at different points will permit of the territory being divided 
in reality as for the present it wfll be divided in principle, the missionaries, 
and in default of them, the provincial council will bring the matter to the 
attention of your Eminences. I shall even make this avowal, namely, that in 
view of the immense weight of responsibility laid upon me, I thought I might 
in the beginning demand even more from these indefatigable workers. As I 
already pointed out, I had authorized them to settle in the Wallamet in the 
district which today I reserve exclusively for other workers. I realize now 
the impossibility which confronts the Society of Jesus of supplying even ap- 
proximately all these needs. I accordingly acquiesced very readily in the views 
which the Very Reverend Father General set before me so wisely in a letter 

119 Shea, of. cit^ 4: 318, 319. Catholic Almanac, 1850. 

120 Father Roothaan also thought the Willamette establishment superfluous and 
had so expressed himself to Bishop Blanchet. 

121 The three Jesuit missions actually established in Oregon at this date were 
the Sacred Heart, St. Mary's and St. Ignatius. 


of rather recent date. The domesticated Indians, the Flatheads, and the sur- 
rounding tribes are quite enough, so he said to me in speaking of the missions 
which the Society might undertake. There is work enough there to keep a 
good many missionaries employed; and may God grant that we find it 
possible to keep up what has been started without taking on new and far- 
reaching engagements (p. 55). 

At the time Archbishop Blanchet drew up his memorial canonical 
relations between the bishops and the religious orders were not as 
clearly defined as they are at present. It was a matter that gave him 
much concern and he wrote from Rome to the Coadjutor of Quebec: "I 
am willing to have the rights and jurisdiction of bishops in regard to 
regulars clearly determined in order to avoid the disagreements of 
which I hear incessant talk. I have just put my hand on a brief which 
is very helpful in this connection and shall send your Lordship a 
copy." 122 As to Blanchet's appeal to the Jesuit General for twelve 
additional priests for Oregon, it could not under the circumstances have 
met with a literal response, not through any disinclination on the Gen- 
eral's part to extend the aid requested, but through sheer lack of avail- 
able men. As it was, Blanchet was to bring with him on his return to 
Oregon three Jesuit priests and the same number of Jesuit coadjutor- 
brothers. With regard to the impression made by the zealous prelate 
on Father Roothaan, it found expression in a letter addressed by him to 
Father Joset: "For the rest I don't conceal my fears that difficulties may 
arise with his Grace. He is indeed a very pious man, but one very much 
under the sway of imagination, who indulges a good deal in theory and 
weighs less the practical side of things. Hence, he is unsteady and 
changeful and often hesitates considerably. Of such character does this 
excellent man appear to be not only in my own opinion but in that of 
other persons here and these of the highest standing. ... I recommend 
that your attitude towards him be one of the utmost humility and 
modesty after the example of St. Francis Xavier. 123 In August, 1847, 
Archbishop Blanchet was again in Oregon with a party of twenty-one 
recruits, including three Jesuit fathers, Menetrey, Goetz, Gazzoli and 
three coadjutor-brothers, Savio, Bellomo and Marchetti(P). 

On September 3, 1847, only a few weeks after the return of Arch- 
bishop Blanchet to Oregon, his brother, Magloire, who had been con- 
secrated Bishop of Walla Walla, arrived at his see in the wilderness 
after a six months' journey over the Oregon trail, of which he has left 
an interesting narrative. 124 Within his jurisdiction were located all the 

122 Blanchet a Turgeon, March 27, 1 846. Quebec Archdiocesan Archives. 
128 Roothaan ad Joset, June 7, 1 846. (AA) . 

124 A translation of the narrative or journal is in the Illinois Catholic Historical 
Review, 9: 208. 


Jesuit Indian missions of the Oregon country and close relations would 
therefore naturally be established between him and the missionaries. As 
a matter of fact, his stay at Walla Walla was destined to be short. In 
November, 1847, on ly a ^ ew months following his arrival at Walla 
Walla, occurred the Whitman massacre, in consequence of which the 
Oregon authorities ordered all missionaries to retire from the district. 
In 1850 the see of Walla Walla was suppressed, the administration 
of this territory being placed in the hands of the Archbishop of Oregon 
City. A new diocese was thereupon erected, that of Nesqually (subse- 
quently Seattle), to which Bishop Blanchet was transferred. His rela- 
tions with the Jesuit missionaries in the mountains were accordingly 
short-lived, but long enough to give promise of their readiness to lend 
him aid as far as circumstances permitted in the general work of the 
diocese. From St. Paul on the Willamette, where he was a guest of his 
brother after the Whitman tragedy, he wrote to the Archbishop of Mon- 

Meanwhile arrived Father Joset, superior of the Reverend Jesuit Fathers. 
I presented him with thirty-six questions, which I requested him to answer. 
They were upon everything that had been done and that remained to be done. 
He answered on the spot and terminated his remarks with these words: 
"Though I think it to be of greater advantage to consolidate the missions now 
established, from which [as centers] we shall be able to work more solidly 
and effectively for the salvation of our neighbors' souls, this will not prevent 
us from being ready to employ ourselves with all our energy in whatever 
work your Lordship may be pleased to occupy us." . . m . Everything seemed 
to be going on satisfactorily and for my part I was pleased with Father Joset 
and the rest. 1215 


In October, 1842, Father De Smet had arrived in St. Louis from 
Oregon to seek men and supplies for the new missionary field he had 
opened up beyond the Rockies. As a preliminary step in his efforts to 
engage the sympathy and support of the Catholic public for the Indian 
missions thus set on foot, he published in Philadelphia in 1 843 Letters 
and Sketches with a Narrative of a Year's Residence Among the Indian 
Tribes of the Rocky Mountains, the first of the many absorbing records 
of missionary adventure that were to come from his pen. Already in the 
spring of that year Marcus Whitman was writing back from the Oregon 
Trail to a friend in the East urging him to procure a copy of the book 
and thereby acquaint himself with Jesuit missionary enterprise in Ore- 
gon. 126 Early in the same year, 1843, as tne result of personal appeals 

125 A. Blanchet a Bourget, March 3, 1848. Montreal Archdiocesan Archives. 
J26 Transactions^ Pioneer Oregon Association, 1870, p. 179. 


made in most of the large cities of the country, including New Orleans, 
Boston, Louisville, Cincinnati, Baltimore, Washington, Philadelphia 
and New York, De Smet had got together the sum of five thousand dol- 
lars. With this fund he was enabled to outfit a party of three recruits 
for Oregon, Father Peter De Vos, lately master of novices at Florissant, 
Father Adrian Hoecken, brother of Christian Hoecken, the Potawatomi 
missionary, and Brother Peter McGean. He conducted the party in 
person, April, 1843, as ^ ar as Westport, whence he returned to St. 
Louis to make preparations for a journey to Europe, the first of the 
many he was to undertake in behalf of the Indian missions he loved 
so dearly. 127 

Meantime the Jesuit party he had escorted to the frontier pushed 
out over the Oregon Trail, forming part, at least for some of the dis- 
tance, of "the great emigration" of 1 843, in which figured Peter H. Bur- 
nett, Jesse Applegate and Marcus Whitman. "Two papal priests and 
their lay-helpers are along," Whitman wrote back to the East, "and De 
Smet has gone back in order to go to Europe and bring others by 
ship." 128 At the Kansas River crossing, where now is Topeka, the emi- 
grants made use of Pappan's (Papin's) Ferry, a crude platform of 
planks which sometimes sank in mid-stream. Here Burnett met the 
Jesuits, later erroneously naming De Smet for Hoecken in his memoirs. 
"At Kansas River crossing we met Fathers De Smet and De Vos, mis- 
sionaries to the Flathead Indians." 129 Here also, at the Kansas crossing, 
George Wilkes, one of the emigrants, made the acquaintance of the 
Jesuit priests. "On the 3<Dth two Catholic missionaries arrived at the 
ford. They were pilgrims through the wilderness on a mission of faith 
to the Flathead Indians. We treated them with every observance of re- 
spect and cheerfully lent them the assistance of our raft." 13 Father De 
Vos had sent word ahead to Father Mengarini at St. Mary's asking him 
to meet the party and conduct it through the last stages of the journey. 
This Mengarini did, taking along with him Young Ignace as a guide. 
On the eastern slope of the Rockies, the father made an interesting dis- 
covery, as he relates in his memoirs. "Some days before this we had dis- 
covered one of the sources of the Missouri. It was on the top of a high 
hill, the soil was very moist and a large stream of water was issuing from 

127 A domestic diary kept at St. Louis University records that the party which 
left St. Louis April 25 included three coadjutor-brothers. Two of the number 
were going to Jesuit missions in Kansas. 

128 Transactions, Pioneer Oregon Association, 1890, p. 177. 

129 Oregon Historical Quarterly, 5: 68. 

180 George Wilkes, A History of Oregon, Geographical and Political, etc. To 
which is added a Journal of the events of the celebrated emigrating expedition of 
1843 (New York, 1845), p. 73. 


the ground, on the outer side of the hill, but a few rods away, so near 
in fact that with a ploughshare I could unite the two, was one of the 
sources of the Columbia." 131 

While De Vos and his companions were thus making their way 
across the plains to the farther side of the Rockies, De Smet set sail from 
New York, June 7, 1843, in company with Archbishop Hughes. In 
Belgium and Holland he went from city to city collecting in a few 
months money and material to the value of one hundred and twenty- 
five thousand francs. An appeal for volunteers for the Oregon Missions 
addressed by the General to the Jesuit provinces of continental Europe 
brought a few recruits. Of the number, Fathers Joseph Joset, a Swiss, 
Pietro Zerbinatti, a Neapolitan, Tiberius Soderini, a Roman, and 
Brother Vincentio Magri, a Maltese, were promptly sent to America. 
Father Joset having met the Italian members of the party in Lyons, 
all proceeded to Havre where on March 20 they took ship in a sailing- 
vessel bound for New Orleans, Father Zerbinatti acting as superior of 
the party during the voyage. Out at sea contrary winds were so strong 
for a spell that during ten days the vessel made scarcely any progress 
at all and fifty days were gone before they reached port. In the course 
of the voyage the priests found ample opportunities to exercise their 
zeal. There were daily catechism classes for the children of the poor 
emigrant families and Mass and sermon on Sundays. One sailor-boy of 
nineteen was instructed daily for a month in preparation for his first 
holy communion. On Easter day some of the passengers received the 
Holy Eucharist, but a number failed to do so out of human respect, so 
at least it seemed to Joset. "In these and other ways of like sort," wrote 
the ardent young missionary, "we tried as well as we might to spread 
about us the good odor of Christ." 132 

St. Louis was reached on May 18, the trip up the Mississippi from 
New Orleans taking seven days. As the season was too far advanced to 
permit of their proceeding at once to the mountains, the party remained 
in St. Louis until the following spring. They started thence on April 23 
for Westport, whence they took the now well-beaten emigrant route 
over the Oregon Trail. 133 A narrative of the trip by Father Joset sup- 
plies graphic details of some of the experiences that befell the travellers 
as they made their way west over the famous highway. 134 De Smet and 

1S1 WL, 18:37. 

182 Joset ad Roothaan, July 10, 1843. (AA). 

138 Father Soderini did not accompany the others to the mountains but went 
there later after having been assigned temporarily to the Sugar Creek Mission. 

184 Joset a . (AA) . The letter is addressed to some unnamed father in 

Switzerland and belongs to the end of 1844 or beginning of 1845. Very probably 
an unabridged version of Joset's letter of February 22, 1845, addressed to Father 
Fouillot and published in Ann. Prof. 18:504-517. 


others told of the hundreds who perished by the wayside, unable to 
reach their journey's end. Joset makes us assist at the last moments of 
some of the victims: 

After the rainy season came that of death. Our camp was like a travelling 
hospital. Several young people attacked by consumption were going to seek 
health in the Mountains. Among them was one recently married who had 
torn himself from the bosom of his family to undertake this long journey. He 
was a convert, a fervent Catholic, who went to the sacraments every month. 
He was resigned in advance. "I don't understand," he told me, "how one 
can live without the assistance of religion; we are going in search of health, 
but if in place of health it is God's will that we should find death, it will be 
a sad outcome for such as are not enlightened by faith." After having given 
him the sacraments, I remained with him at his wagon until his last sigh. The 
next day a Requiem Mass was said and a cross with inscription planted on the 

The second was a young Methodist or Anabaptist. I visited him fre- 
quently during his sickness; he showed himself greatly pleased to see me and 
listen to the explanations I gave him on our holy religion. One day when he 
was suffering more than usual I asked him whether he shouldn't like to 
receive baptism; he received it in answer to his request. During the several 
days he continued to live he showed excellent dispositions as well as a desire 
to know the Catholic religion better. He died at a moment when no one was 
attending him and was buried with the rites of the Church. We looked upon 
him as a Catholic by reason of the sentiments he had given expression to. 

The third died on a hill, where, overtaken by a storm, we had been obliged 
to camp without a fire. He belonged to a Catholic family and had shown 
himself a model of patience, making no complaint except that he was a 
burden to everybody. He had received Communion a few days before. I 
heard his confession again, gave him Extreme Unction and the last absolution 
and did not leave him until he had given up his soul. The funeral ceremonies 
were repeated so often that [ms.? ]. . . . The last one I assisted was a Prot- 
estant of good family and distinguished manners. He always showed himself 
exceeding polite towards us. Catholics he held in esteem. He was already in 
his agony when I was told of the danger. My ministrations were limited to 
suggesting to him acts of faith, hope, charity, contrition and abandonment 
to the divine will. Several times when I asked him to wink with his eyes if 
he understood me, he gave me at once the desired signal, v/hich led me to 
believe that he retained consciousness until his last moment. In all these cir- 
cumstances the little English I had learned in St. Louis proved very useful 
to me. All the sick and the people of our camp generally knew no other 
language. So you see, Reverend Father, that this part of our journey was 
not the gayest possible. We advanced only at a snail's pace. Six full weeks 
were necessary for us to cover a distance that ordinarily takes only six days 
and even then we were obliged to unload our conveyances of all unnecessaries 
in order to make our way. 


The fauna and flora met along the way did not escape Joset's ob- 
serving eye. 

Only a half an hour ago while on the prairie our people had killed a 
rattlesnake. This reptile is very common in these parts, but people don't fear 
it as much as we might imagine in Europe. There is no danger except when 
it is surprised. In Paris they made me take along some liquid ammonia as 
an infallible specific against the bites of venomous beasts of whatever kind; 
but here it is superfluous. Divine Providence here spreads about the remedy 
in greater abundance than the disease. It is called blackroot; the stem is very 
much like the tragophagon of your meadows; its yellow head, which turns 
black when ripe, rises about on all sides above the other grasses so that it is 
easy to find it. You pound the dry root and spread it on the bite. 135 

Joset was led to expect from letters of Father De Smet, who re- 
turned to Oregon in the summer of 1844, that the latter might meet 
him at Green River and conduct the party across the mountains. When 
De Smet failed to appear at Green River, as a matter of fact he was 
only just then arriving in lower Oregon from Europe, Joset had to 
look about for a guide. One such did offer his services, but, besides 
asking a fee of a hundred dollars for the thirty-five days needed to com- 
plete the journey, he also demanded upkeep all the way for his family 
of seven. This meant an expense very much greater than Joset was 
either able or willing to incur, and he determined to push on without a 
guide. He had not gone far when a kindly Providence came to his 

On the eighth of September, feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin, 
I was going some distance ahead of my little caravan, as my custom was, to 
find a good place for dinner, when I saw coming towards me a man clothed 
in the fashion of the whites, but wearing his hair long, after the manner of 
the Indians. As is usually done, we shook hands. Great was my joy when I 
heard him return my "bon jour" I asked him whether he was a Canadian. 
"I am an Iroquois," "Do you know St. Mary's?" "I have just come from it." 
"Your name?" "Ignace." I should find it impossible to tell you the joy I felt 
at the word "Ignace." I don't know whether it would be any greater at 
sight of an angel descending from heaven to become our guide. He was truly 
an angel sent by the Blessed Virgin; he came nesciens quid jaceret [unaware 
what he was doing] . He was the same Ignace who was not afraid to jour- 
ney with a single companion to St. Louis to ask for Black Robes in the name 
of the Flatheads and who had conducted thence Father De Smet; he was 
the same Ignace who had accompanied Father De Smet on his return to 

185 Idem. Chittenden and Richardson were unable to identify the "blackroot" 
mentioned by De Smet as a specific for snake-bite. CR, De Smet, 2:663. But cf. 
infra, Chap. XXVIII, 13, for oryngium aquaticum, the Potawatomi cure for 


St. Louis and had brought thence Fathers De Vos and Hoecken, the mis- 
sionaries' guide, and a devoted man, who knew the country perfectly, so 
that all we had to do thenceforward was to follow his lead. 

The party had been disappointed in not meeting Father De Smet 
at Green River 5 whatever hopes they entertained of meeting him at 
least at Fort Hall likewise ended in disappointment. Beyond Fort Hall 
the route would bring them through the lands of the Blackfeet, "the 
Arabs of this region," Joset called them, "with whom neither peace nor 
truce is possible." The teamsters and even Ignace himself shrank from 
the unpleasant prospect. But Joset reasoned with himself that it was 
God's affair after all ; His will and not their own caprice had brought 
them into the desert 5 there was nothing therefore to do but go ahead 
and leave the issue in His hands. Joset succeeded in communicating his 
courage to the rest and so his little party of seven, himself and Father 
Zerbinatti, Brother Magri, Ignace, a Canadian, and two Mexicans 
put out from Fort Hall. Providence, which they had trusted, did not 
disappoint their hopes $ they traversed the Blackfeet country without 
unpleasant incident and reached their destination on the Bitter Root 
safe and sound. "Finally on October 5 we passed Hell Gate. On the 
6th, Holy Rosary Sunday, we celebrated Mass on the banks of the 
river. On the yth in the church of St. Mary's we recited the Te Deum 
which was followed by a Mass of Thanksgiving. Thanks to the kindly 
care of Providence, in which we had placed all our hope, this last stage 
of our journey, which in everybody's opinion was the most perilous of 
all, was not only the most successful, but even the pleasantest." 136 


On January 9, 1844, Father De Smet sailed out of the port of Ant- 
werp on the chartered brig Infatigable, having with him five Jesuit 
recruits for Oregon, Fathers John Nobili, Michael Accolti, Anthony 
Ravalli, Louis Vercruysse and Brother Francis Huysbrecht, together 
with six sisters of the Congregation of Notre Dame de Namur. Cape 
Horn was rounded on March 20 and on July 28 the coast of Oregon 
came into view. On July 31 the dangerous bar at the mouth of the 
Columbia was crossed but only after an experience that threatened for 
the moment to make an end of the passengers in the very last leg of 
their seven months' voyage. On August 5 the Injatigable cast anchor 
before historic Fort Vancouver on the north bank of the Columbia a 
few miles above the mouth of the Willamette. Waiting to receive the 

136 Joset a . (AA). Joset is mistaken in saying that young Ignace accom- 
panied De Smet to St. Louis and thence conducted De Vos and Hoecken 'to the 


party as they landed were Dr. John McLoughlin, the Hudson's Bay 
Company's chief representative in the Pacific Northwest, his Indian 
wife, James Douglas, McLoughlin's chief aid, and Dr. Forbes Barclay, 
the fort's physician. 1 * 7 De Smet, who had left the party after they 
entered the Columbia to precede them in a skiff to the fort, rejoined 
his fellow-travellers before they disembarked to bring them tidings he 
had picked up of missionary achievement during his absence from Ore- 
gon all the Coeur d'Alenes, so it was said, converted and six hundred 
baptisms among the Indians of New Caledonia. 

On the eve of the Assumption the group set out for St. Paul, some 
fifty miles above on the Willamette, under escort of Vicar-general 
Blanchet, who had come down to give them welcome. "Our little 
squadron," records De Smet, "consisted of four canoes manned by the 
parishioners of Father Blanchet, and our own sloop. We sailed up 
[down?] the river and soon entered the Willamette, the waters of 
which flow into the Columbia. As night approached, we moored our 
vessels and encamped upon the shore." The spot was apparently within 
the limits of what is now the city of Portland. On the morrow, festival 
of the Assumption, De Smet aided by the nuns erected a small altar at 
which Blanchet celebrated Mass, all the others communicating. "Finally, 
the 1 7th, about eleven o'clock, we came in sight of our dear mission of 
Willamette. A cart was prepared to conduct the nuns to their dwelling, 
which is about five miles from the riven In two hours we were all 
assembled in the chapel of Willamette to adore and thank our Divine 
Saviour by the solemn chanting of the Te Deum, in which all hearts 
and lips joined with lively emotion." 138 "The Church," Sister Loyola, 
superior of the nuns, wrote in her journal for August 17, "is not a bad 
resemblance of the stable of Bethlehem." 139 It was in truth an historic 
structure, having been built in 1836 by the Canadian settlers two years 
before the priests came among them, and was the oldest log church in 
the Pacific Northwest. It was dedicated to Catholic worship January 6, 
1839, by Blanchet. Demers had taken up residence in the Cowlitz 
Valley, Washington, since October 13, 1839, opening there the Church 
of St. Francis Xavier. St. Paul was the earliest Catholic establish- 
ment in Oregon proper. 140 Four miles below St. Paul was Cham- 
poeg, which became prominent in early Oregon politics. 

137 CR, DeSmet, 2:447. 

188 Idem, 2:447,448. 

189 Notice sur le Territoire et sur la Mission De U Oregon suivie de quelques 
lettres des Soeurs de Notre Dame etablies a Saint Paul du Wallamette (Brussels, 
1847), P- I2 4- This work is translated in C. B. Bagley (ed.), Early Catholic Mis- 
sions in Old Oregon (Seattle, 1932), 2: 1-122. 

140 Edwin V. O'Hara, Pioneer Catholic History of Oregon (Portland, Oregon, 
1911), pp. 36-38. 


As it happened, the Jesuits arrived on the scene at the very mo- 
ment that the Methodist mission on the Willamette, founded by Daniel 
and Jason Lee in 1834, had just suspended operations after ten years 
of unproductive labor involving great expense. Though a chance to buy 
the Methodist holdings now presented itself, something more desirable 
was shortly found. It was De Smet's design, first suggested to him by 
Blanchet, to open on the Willamette a house that might serve as base 
of supplies for all the Jesuit missions in Oregon. Twelve days after his 
arrival at S't. Paul a choice property was in his possession. "Mon- 
seigneur Blanchet," he informed Father Roothaan, August 29, 1844, 
"has given me a fine piece of land, an English square mile in extent . . . 
at a half league from his mother-house." In a letter to his brother Fran- 
cis, dated October 9, 1844, he enters into details about the property: 

The Methodists, indeed, offered to sell me their Academy, which is a 
sufficiently large and handsome house but entirely destitute of wood and arable 
land. In this perplexity Mr. Blanchet relieved me by a generous and dis- 
interested offer. He proposed to examine the property belonging to the mis- 
sion, and take such portions of it as I should judge most proper for our 
projected establishment. We accordingly set out on this new excursion} but 
we had scarcely proceeded two miles when we came to a point uniting every 
desirable advantage. Picture to yourself an immense plain extending south- 
ward as far as the eye can reach; on one side the snowy crests of the 
gigantic Hood, Jefferson or Molelis and St. Helen's (the three highest peaks 
of Oregon), towering majestically upward, and losing themselves in the 
clouds 5 on the west the limpid waters of two small lakes, on whose beautiful 
shores the beaver, the otter and the muskrat sport in careless security, heed- 
less of our presence. The elevation on which we were standing, gradually 
sloping downward and forming a charming ampitheatre, extended to the 
borders of one of the lakes. 

I hesitated not a moment in selecting this spot for the mother mission of 
St. Francis Xavier. The sweet recollections of our first establishment on the 
Missouri returned to my mind; and the remembrance of the rapid progress 
of the Mission of St. Stanislaus, near St. Ferdinand, whose branches now 
extend over the greater part of Missouri, Ohio, Louisiana, reaching even the 
Rocky Mountains, and penetrating to the western boundary of America, led 
me to breathe a fervent prayer, that here also might be formed a station, 
whence the torch of faith would diffuse its cheering light among the be- 
nighted tribes of this immense territory. We have also a fine view of the 
Willamette river, which in this place makes a sudden bend, continuing its 
course amidst dense forests, which promise an almost inexhaustible supply of 
materials for the construction of our mission-house. In no part of this region 
have I met with a more luxuriant growth of pine, fir, elm, ash, oak, button- 
ball [sycamore] and yew trees. The intervening country is beautifully diversi- 
fied with shadowy groves and smiling plains, whose rich soil yields abundant 
harvests, sufficient for the maintenance of a large establishment. Besides these 


advantages, there are a number of springs on one side of the hill, one of which 
is not more than 100 yards from the house, and it will probably be of great 
use hereafter. Having now made choice of the locality, we commenced with- 
out delay the erection of the buildings. The first thins: to be done was to 
clear the ground by cutting away the underbrush and isolated trees, after 
which, with the aid of the inhabitants, we constructed three wooden build- 
ings, covered by a single roof of ninety feet; these were to serve as workshops 
for the brother blacksmith, carpenter and joiner. 

Besides these, a house, forty-five by thirty-five feet, is now under way. 
It is to be two stories, and will be the dwelling-house of the missionaries. 141 

On October 3, 1844, De Smet left the Willamette residence, which 
he named for St. Francis Xavier, to revisit his missions in the moun- 
tains. Sister Loyola's journal for that date records: "Reverend Father 
De Smet, to whom we are obliged for attention and benefits which we 
shall never be able to acknowledge, has just bid us good-bye. Though 
prepared for his departure we feel it keenly." 142 The residence now re- 
ceived a new superior in the person of Father De Vos, who had just 
come down from the Flatheads. On October 17 he said the first Mass in 
the convent chapel, distant "a half league from the Jesuit Residence." 
"We shall have holy Mass every day," Sister Loyola notes in her 
journal, "and an instruction on Sunday by one of the Reverend Fathers 
of the Society of Jesus." 143 

Father De Vos's management of affairs at St. Francis Xavier's was 
not considered to be satisfactory and he was transferred in May, 1 845, 
to Oregon City. He was replaced by Father Michael Accolti, whose 
subsequent career in Oregon was largely identified with the manage- 
ment of this projected general headquarters for the missions. Fathers 
Vercruysse and Ravalli on their arrival in Oregon were first attached 
to St. Francis Xavier's, where they busied themselves in learning Eng- 
lish. In 1848 Accolti with Brothers Savio and Marchetti made up the 
little community at the Willamette. When he left for his visit to Cali- 
fornia in 1849, he was replaced by Menetrey as acting-superior. On his 
return to Oregon, as superior of the Oregon Missions, he again resided 
at St. Francis Xavier's, in which he took the keenest interest all the 
years he spent in the Willamette Valley. 144 

141 CR, De Smet, 2:449. A little lake on or near the property was named for 
St. Ignatius. St. Francis Xavier 's was sometimes referred to as the establishment "au 
Lac Ignace." 

142 CR, De Smet, 2:454. Notice sur Oregon, etc., p. 126. The sisters' account 
records that Father De Smet had taught them English during the long voyage to 
America. Sister Loyola's journal gives October 7, as the date of De Smet's departure 
from St. Paul; De Smet's own date is October 3. 

143 Father De Vos had been master of novices at Florissant and had come out 
to the mountains with Father Adrian Hoecken in 1843. 

144 Cf.**/r*, 6. 

S oo 

"5 ~ 



6 | 


.y M 
g? P 1 * 




Though Father De Smet in his letter to the General represented 
the Willamette farm as a gift from Father Blanchet, it was not strictly 
such, at least one gathers so from correspondence of the period. As a 
matter of fact the property appears to have been government land, to 
which the vicar-general could not personally enter valid claim as he had 
already taken up land to the full legal amount. At the same time he 
acted no doubt in good faith in the transaction, the circumstances of 
which are not clear. He probably possessed at least an inchoative right 
to the property and this right he meant to convey to De Smet. To the 
original section or mile-square plot were later added a few adjoining 
pieces acquired by purchase from neighboring settlers while Father 
Demers, vicar-general during Blanchet's absence from the country after 
his appointment as bishop, ceded to the fathers a part of Blanchet's own 
claim, good fertile land, whereas the fathers' actual property was said 
to be poor for farming. When Archbishop Blanchet returned to Oregon 
after his consecration, he declined to ratify the cession of land made by 
his vicar-general to the Jesuits during his absence unless the latter con- 
firmed the right conceded by De Smet to the diocesan clergy to cut wood 
on the fathers' farm, which was apparently rich in timber. This right 
De Smet had granted first for ten years and later indefinitely over the 
protest of De Vos, who thought it unwise to allow a lien of this nature 
to be fixed on Jesuit property. Father Joset, De Smet's successor as 
superior of the missions, took the position that De Smet was without 
authority to grant the right in question and he reported the case to the 
Father General. What adjustment was made of the point at issue does 
not appear. Sometime before February, 1846, the Willamette claims, 
comprising the St. Francis Xavier farm, were duly registered at the land 
office. In pursuance of advice received from Dr. Long, secretary of the 
provisional government and a convert of Father De Vos's, the claims 
were not entered in De Sfnet's name, as the latter was never more than 
a transient in the lower Oregon country and had not acquired a domicile 
therein. 145 

The project of a "mother-house," as De Smet chose to call it, at 
the Willamette had at first received Father Roothaan's unqualified 
approval. "Here," he wrote, "must be the residence of the Superior, 
who from this point will extend aid to the missionaries and correspond 
with Europe. The Superior should have at least one companion with 
him in this Residence." 146 But in August, 1846, less than two years 
after the Willamette house had been opened, Father Roothaan author- 
ized Joset to suppress it as an economic burden and useless for the pur- 

145 Joset a RootKaan, February 5, 184.9. (AA). Accolti a De Smet, February I, 
1846. (A). 

146 Roothaan a De Smet, November 2, 1843. (AA). 


pose intended. Now that the Oregon boundary question had been set- 
tled, better and quicker communications were to be opened up between 
Missouri and the upper Columbia Valley, where all the Jesuit Indian 
missions were located. A smaller residence might be maintained at the 
Willamette, but a genuinely central residence, whither the missionaries 
could retire to recuperate, ought to be located at a point really central 
with reference to the various posts. 147 These views of the General were 
fully shared by Joset, who in 1849 drew up for him a very neatly 
tabulated statement lucidly setting forth the pros and cons on the ques- 
tion of continuing the Willamette residence. The cost of maintenance 
was excessive, one-half the available funds of the mission being swal- 
lowed up by this single house. The location was singularly inconveni- 
ent, being fifty miles at least up the Willamette so that missionaries 
from Europe arriving at Fort Vancouver had to pay sixteen dollars or 
more additional fare to get to it. The residence was in fact in a sort of 
wilderness with almost no settlers in the neighborhood and, with the 
Bishop and his clergy also living at St. Paul, there was scant oppor- 
tunity for the exercise of the ministry. In fact the situation was not such 
as to edify the laity, who were puzzled to see so many of the clergy 
gathered together in this out-of-the-way corner. On the other hand it 
might be difficult to find a purchaser especially as the property was 
encumbered by what Joset called a "servitude," apparently the right 
granted the secular clergy by De Smet to cut timber within its limits. 
As a compromise solution of the problem Joset suggested that some or 
other father, the superior or procurator of the missions, for instance, 
might winter at the Willamette, the place being vacated during the 
remainder of the year. 148 

On the other hand, the residence and its prospects always found a 
persistent defender in Father Accolti. Over and over again he repre- 
sented to the General that with two or three efficient coadjutor-brothers 
at his service, he could make the Willamette farm yield a substantial 
revenue, two or three thousand dollars or more. In 1850 he petitioned 
the General for a "carpenter brother, 3 farmer-brothers and a Father 
who is a good manager." He was confident that with this help the farm 
would bring four or five thousand a year. His correspondence all these 
years touches repeatedly on the superior merits of the Willamette prop- 
erty and the promising outlook of the residence. Thus in a letter of 
1850 to the Father General: "Mr. Mathi, one of the leading members 
of the Oceanic Company, is here. He went to visit our Residence of St. 

147 Roothaan a Accolti, August 31, 1846. (AA). Blandiet wrote from Rome 
to Archbishop Bourget of Montreal, March 27, 1846: "Le Pert General a fort 
blaml P etablissement du PP. au Wallamette" Montreal Archdiocesan Archives. 

148 Joset a Roothaan, 1849. ( AA )- 


Francis Xavier at the Willamette. He is in the utmost admiration of 
this establishment, whether on account of its unique position or the 
fertility of the soil and the improvements made." 14Q Furthermore, Ac- 
colti like De Smet, whose dreams he inherited, saw in the Willamette 
property a promising location for a future Jesuit college and novitiate. 
"This country [of Oregon]," he assured Father Roothaan in May, 1848, 
"is going to become in a very short time one of the richest and most 
flourishing [sections] of the Union." 13 To Father Van De Velde he 
gave this account of the Willamette farm: 

I live here in this residence in the quality of procurator of the Missions 
with two Italian coadjutor-brothers, Savio and Marchetti. We have a prop- 
erty here which is perhaps the best we could possibly possess in all Oregon. 
Every one who comes here has the same opinion about it. The farm is on 
such an excellent footing that few things are lacking to make it a superb one. 
Circumstances do not allow me for the present to draw from it more produce 
than is necessary for our own support, but it could yield much more with the 
aid of a few coadjutor-brothers, whom we do not happen to have. As regards 
the future it would be a highly interesting point for the Society and I believe 
that our young Jesuit folk of the United States would not regret coming to 
exercise their zeal in this quarter of the world a trifle remote though it be. 151 

In the event the residence of St. Francis Xavier failed to realize the 
hopes of its founder that it would become a general administrative cen- 
ter for the missions of the Pacific Northwest. It lay at too great a dis- 
tance from the western slope of the Rockies, where the missions were 
located with the result that difficulties could not fail to be felt in the 
communication of orders and the transfer of supplies. 

In 1852 Accolti, in response to Archbishop Blanchet's solicitations, 
took up his residence with a coadjutor-brother in Oregon City and there 
assumed charge of the Catholic parish of that growing town. The 
change was a wise one for it placed him in a position to handle more 
effectively as superior the temporal business of the missions. Mengarini 
with three brothers to care for the farm was left at St. Francis Xavier's. 
In pursuance of an order of Father Roothaan issued in 1852 the Wil- 
lamette property was to be sold at the first opportunity and the residence 
closed. By this time Accolti himself had become disillusioned as to its 
future usefulness. He wrote to Father Murphy at St. Louis: 

According to the disposition of his Paternity and the wishes of our 
Fathers and mine too, the Residence of St. Francis Xavier will be sold 

149 Accolti a Roothaan, August 18, 1850. (AA). 

150 Accolti a Roothaan, Ma/ i, 1848. (AA). 

151 Accolti a Van de Velde, April 29, 1848. (AA). 


because it is in such a predicament as to require the employment of a great 
many persons without any relation to the present (and I think also the 
future) spiritual benefit of the country. Oregon City is the most suitable 
place for us to attend to exercises which are more conformable to our voca- 
tion than husbandry and so benefit our neighbors. 152 

A description of the Willamette farm with interesting speculations 
on Oregon of the future occur in the same letter to Father Murphy: 

Some three months ago we were bargaining with a wealthy gentleman 
for the sum of $22,000. But some misunderstanding having occurred about 
the terms of payment our bargain was dissolved before being closed. If any 
gentleman of your acquaintance in the States would make good investment 
of his money, let him come here with $20,000 and I will put into his hands 
the best farm and the best spot that exists in the whole extension of this valley, 
nay in the whole [of] Oregon. I assure you that there is no humbug at all in 
what I state. This is the opinion of all persons who have visited the place and 
what is of more authority this is the opinion even of Mr. Preston, the 
Surveyor General of the Territory, this the opinion of his subservient [assist- 
ant] surveyors, who have seen the country from East to West and from 
North to South. At the end of a broad prairie encompassed by large oak and 
towering fir-trees, a beautiful two-story house (45 x 35 ft.) lays [sic] on a 
commanding prominence directly sloping and converging in the shape of a 
magnificent amphitheatre, the arena of which meets in its extremity with a 
lake of fine water, which bathes the surrounding ever-green shores, about 
two hundred feet distant from each other, and then with a gentle current 
empties into the Wallamette River through a rivulet formed by its never defi- 
cient waters. The outside walls of the house are of square logs well tied to- 
gether by mortices and sheltered with weather boards against the intemperies 
[inclemencies] of the seasons. The whole of the building is distributed into 
fifteen rooms, of different dimensions according to their destination. The 
intermediate partitions are of brick and each room is provided with a substan- 
tial and comfortable brick chimney. About 200 acres out of 640 of the best 
land in the territory and giving every year an averaging revenue of $2500 
should be a very good inducement for any husbandman ambitious of growing 
fat and wealthy. Not only the fields but even almost all the prairies within 
that claim are secured with good and substantial fences all round against the 
incursion of strange roving cattle. A large barn of 100 x 50 ft. with thrashing 
floor of 30 x 30 feet, one of [ms. ?] two story granary substantially made 
with square logs afford all the conveniences which would be wished in a well 
established farm. Stables for horses and cattle, bakery with brick oven, car- 
penter and blacksmith shops, and two or three other log houses very conven- 
ient for storing in everything. Besides that a thrashing machine, a good fan- 
mill and every other agricultural instrument. Horses and oxen teams, about 
ten or twelve first-rate American milking cows. Hogs and pigs of every de- 

152 Accolti to Murphy, November 8, 1852. (A). 


scription and of excellent breed. In addition to all this a splendid and large 
garden constantly irrigated by three or four rivulets springing out from the 
middle of the impending slope and running down in whatever direction you 
please. But what gives more value to the place is the vicinity of the River 
Wallamette and the opportunity of sending down the produce by steamer 
without any inconvenience at all. The Reverend Father De Smet, though he 
is not entirely acquainted with the improvements therein made subsequently 
to his departure from this country (as for example large and deep ditches all 
around the fields made by skilful Irish hands) still he could better than I do, 
give you a full description of this singular and romantic place. . . . 

Oregon is now and with more reason in a few years will be the best farm- 
ing country in the Union. Besides other advantages, the salubrity of its climate 
will always attract a great many other emigrants from other states, on that 
account, far inferior to this Territory. The only thing which formerly made 
problematic the progress and prosperity of its country was the want of a 
market place for exchanging our produce. But the discovery of gold mines in 
California has dissipated all doubts about it. San Francisco is and will con- 
stantly be open to receive our produce with the most desirable advantages 
could be wished. I will give you a correct statement of the present market 
"fer summa capita" Wheat $3.00 per bushel; oats, $1.50, and $2.00; flour 
$10.00 and $12.00 a hundred Ibs.; pork 30$ a lb.; beef from 12 to I5cts. 
a lb. and so forth. The gold mines of Oregon in addition to those of Cali- 
fornia increase every day the amount of demands for supplies, so that the 
industrious farmer will always have a good chance of exchanging his produce 
with fine gold dust at any rate. Another property of our soil is its aptness 
for the raising of fruit-trees of every description. I have tasted here apples of 
such a quality as to compete with the best which could be afforded by our 
well conducted orchards of Italy. Pears, cherries, peaches, apricots, etc. all 
grow well in this country; and what is more striking is that almost all the 
fruit trees are raised from seed and not by inoculation, without giving to the 
fruits that sourness which is observed in other countries. Vines also are of a 
very luxurious growing. Nevertheless my impression is that, tho 3 they will 
supply our tables with delicious grapes, still they will never fill up our tumblers 
with foaming wine to bring onto our table parties the loquacious jollity of 
France and Italy. 

It took Oregon long to come into its own as one of the great 
farming states of the Union; but it is interesting to see how its present 
agricultural development was clearly foreseen and confidently pre- 
dicted by Father Accolti in the early fifties. As to the Willamette farm, 
which he extolled in such glowing terms, it was disposed of by the Jesuits 
before the end of the fifties when the residence of St. Francis Xavier, 
De Smet and Accolti's dream of a general headquarters for the Rocky 
Mountain Missions, definitely passed from the scene. 



The most important of the missions opened by the Society of Jesus 
among the Rock}' Mountain tribes was to be St. Ignatius of the Kalis- 
pel. The Flathead and Coeur d'Alene posts disappeared in the occupa- 
tion of the Indian country by the whites j the Kalispel mission still 
survives to carry on the tradition of Jesuit missionary enterprise and 
zeal inaugurated by De Smet. In the range of activities carried on from 
it as a center and in the physical equipment of buildings, lands, and 
other facilities for prosecuting its work, St. Ignatius outdistanced its 
sister-missions by a wide margin. 

The Kalispel are of Salish stock and speak practically the same lan- 
guage as the Flatheads. By the Canadian trappers and traders they were 
named the Pend d'Oreilles or "Ear-drops." 153 The Pend d'Oreilles 
formerly occupied lands along the river and around the lake of the 
same name, Clark's Fork of the Columbia being also known as the 
Pend d'Oreille River. Moreover, at the period the missionaries came 
on the scene, two divisions of the tribe were recognized, the Pend 
d'Oreilles of the Upper Lake (Flathead) and those of the Lower Lake 
(Pend d'Oreille) or simply the Upper and Lower Pend d'Oreilles. The 
last named group -is the one described in De Smet's letters as the 
Kalispel of the Bay, the term Bay being applied to an extensive prairie 
lying on the north side of the Pend d'Oreille River about thirty or 
forty miles above its junction with the Columbia. Together the Upper 
and Lower Kalispel numbered about a thousand souls. 

De Smet's first meeting with the tribe was in the autumn of -1841 
on his first journey to Fort Colville. He found them already instructed 
a little in a religious way through the initiative of a young Kalispel 
who had met him on his first trip to the Flatheads in 1840 and 
had learned from him a few prayers and points of Catholic doctrine. 154 
Further instruction was now imparted, twenty-seven children were 
baptized and hopes held out to the Kalispel of soon receiving a resi- 
dent priest. The remarkable thing about all the mountain tribes was 
their readiness from the beginning to accept the teaching of the mis- 
sionaries. In the spring of 1842 De Smet while on his way from the 
Flatheads to Fort Vancouver again came in contact with the Kalispel. 
He found them still persevering in their good dispositions of the pre- 

158 Hodge, Handbook of American Indians, 1 : 647, art. "Kalispel." 
154 CR, De Smet, i : 346. The first priest among the Pend d'Oreilles was Father 
Demers, who addressed a letter to De Smet from a Pend d'Oreille camp, August 
6, 1840. CR, De Smet, 4: 1551. Demers's visit to the tribe antedated any contact 
made with it by De Smet. 


ceding autumn and baptized sixty adults. 155 Finally, he met them 
for a third time in November, 1844, at which juncture Adrian Hoecken 
was already installed as resident priest of the Kalispel. The outlook for 
the tribe was most encouraging, Hoecken giving a flattering account of 
the tribe as material for the missionaries to work upon. This sturdy Hol- 
lander now in his fortieth year was taking his first steps in what was 
to be a long and distinguished missionary career. He came of a family 
which had the distinction of giving seven of its members to the service 
of the Church. His brother, Christian, like himself a Jesuit of the vice- 
province of Missouri, was at the moment resident missionary among 
the Kansas Potawatomi, in which capacity he displayed an efficiency 
and zeal that make his name a notable one in the history of that tribe. 
Adrian Hoecken's years in the mountains were almost entirely spent 
with the Kalispel. He was the Kalispel missionary far excellence. He 
shaped the destinies of the first St. Ignatius as superior all the years 
it was maintained and moved with the Indians to the second and 
greater St. Ignatius in western Montana, of which he may be reckoned 
the founder. One must even call him founder of the first St. Ignatius 
unless the credit of having been such is to go to De Smet himself. 

De Smet's stay with the Kalispel on the occasion of his visit of 
November, 1 844, was brief for he was eager to return to the Flatheads 
before the winter set in. He proceeded up Clark's Fork by canoe but the 
ice soon began to gather in the river, making further navigation im- 
possible, and he was forced to return to the Kalispel, with whom he 
spent the winter of 1844-1845. Christmas day was kept by the Indians 
with noteworthy demonstrations of religious fervor. 156 

At the beginning of February, 1 845, Father De Smet set out from 
the Kalispel camp to renew the attempt made in the preceding No- 
vember to reach St. Mary's Mission. Arriving among his beloved Flat- 
heads, he had the happiness of celebrating with them the solemnity 
of Easter, on which day he administered holy communion to the 
greater part of the tribe. Moreover, three hundred Upper Kalispel, 
the greater part of them adults, belonging to the station of St. Francis 
Borgia, received the sacrament of baptism. 157 Meanwhile the Kalispel 
of the Bay were anxiously awaiting De Smet's return. Accordingly, 
shortly after Easter, as the snow was fast disappearing from the ground, 

165 CR, De Start, 1:370. For the attitude of the missionaries in regard to 
Indian baptisms, cf. infra, Chap. XXVI, I, note 13, 5. Adults were not bap- 
tized without a reasonable measure of instruction. 

156 Idem, 2:468. 

157 Idem, 2:472. The station of St. Francis Borgia among the Upper Pend 
d'Oreilles was on the left side of the Flathead River (Clark's Fork) some miles 
below Flathead Lake. 


he began the descent of Clark's Fork in a frail canoe guided by two 
Indians. In a few days, such was the impetuosity of the current, he 
was back again with the Kalispel. One feature of the so-called Bay 
or Prairie where they resided was a large-sized grotto, to which De 
Smet gave the name of New Manresa, in memory of the famous cave 
in Spain in which Ignatius Loyola spent the first days of his conversion 
in prayer and penitential exercises. The grotto, so De Smet "was at 
pains to note, could be fitted up at small expense for a church. Imme- 
diately on his return to the Bay, he set about in company with Adrian 
Hoecken and some of the chiefs examining the locality with a view to 
choosing a permanent site for the mission. "We found a vast and 
beautiful prairie, three miles in extent, surrounded by cedar and pine, 
in the neighborhood of the cavern of New Manresa and its quarries and 
a fall of water of more than two hundred feet, presenting every advan- 
tage for the erection of mills. I felled the first tree and after having 
taken all necessary measures to expedite the work, I departed for Walla 
Walla, where I embarked in a small boat and descended the Columbia 
as far as Fort Vancouver." 158 

The Indians began at once to build at the place designated for the 
mission and to open fields. On Ascension Day, 1 845, Hoecken admin- 
istered baptism to more than a hundred adults. When De Smet re- 
visited the Kalispel the following July, he found they had already put 
up fourteen log houses, besides a large barn, had the timber prepared 
for a church and had upward of three hundred acres in grain enclosed 
by a substantial fence. The whole village, men, women and children, 
had worked most cheerfully. "I counted thirty head of horned cattle 
the squaws had learned to milk the cows and to churn 5 they had a 
few hogs and some domestic fowls. The number of Christians had 
doubled since Christmas, 1844." 159 

The first farming operations at St. Ignatius met with reverses that 
augured badly for the future $ but the Indians were plucky and per- 
severing and in the long run they achieved a considerable measure of 
success. 160 Even before the missionaries arrived they had learned the 

158 CR, De Smet, 2:474. The site of the first St. Ignatius Mission was on the 
right bank of Clark's Fork of the Columbia "some forty miles below Lake Pend 
d'Oreille." Charles W. Frush, "A Trip from the Dalles of the Columbia in Oregon 
to Fort Owen, Bitter Root Valley, Montana, in the spring of 1858," in Montana 
Hist. Coll., 2: 341. "The usual place of residence of the Kalispels that in which 
the Reduction of St. Ignatius is now established is an extensive prairie called the 
Bay of the Kalispels, thirty or forty miles above the mouth of Clark or Flathead 
River." CR, De Smet, 2 : 46 1 . The mission-site was a short distance west of the 
eastern boundary-line of Washington. 

159 CR, DeSmet, 2:471. 

160 The following account of the initial efforts of the Kalispel in farming is 


art of raising potatoes, which they did in common fields and not in 
plots individually owned. 101 The plan worked so well that the mis- 
sionaries on their arrival made no attempt to change it; the larger 
fields which were now laid out were regarded as tribal property and 
were worked by all hands together. In many cases individuals who 
had started to farm on their own account gave up this plan and went 
to work in the common fields. The first crops were sown in the spring 
of 1845. Then came unusually high water inundating the fields 5 the 
potatoes were lost, but the wheat and barley were 'saved though the 
harvest was barely enough to provide seed for the following year. 
"Far from being discouraged, they showed themselves ready to begin 
over again with fresh ardor; at the first word from the Father they 
undertook to surround with fences a space at least ten times more ex- 
tensive than the first field." In 1846 more than a hundred acres were 
sown. Again there was high water and a good part of the fields was 
reduced to the condition of a marsh. The animals and the young Indian 
workers sank knee-deep in the mud while in the flooded section two 
plows were in constant use for fifteen days, the Indians behind them 
keeping up their courage all the time with song. "Our countrymen in 
Europe," relates Father Joset, "will take in hand more painful tasks, but 
never on a more miserable diet. Summer floods had deprived them [the 
Indians] of roots and a snowless winter had not given them a single 
deer so that to support the fatigue to which they were in no wise ac- 
customed they were reduced to pine-moss cooked with a little gamache y 
a meal of which no beggar would care to taste." If the following year 
should also be one of high water, the Indians' patience, so Joset be- 
lieved, would be taxed beyond endurance. Lake Roothaan (Priest's 
Lake) did indeed begin to rise that year and, with it, its outlet, 
Priest's River. The Indians had recourse to prayer. Every Saturday 
Mass was said and the litanies were chanted to secure the Virgin 
Mother's protection. Prayer had its answer and the mission fields were 
left undamaged by the water. Then, taking a leaf from past experience, 
the Indians broke ground for a new field on the hillside near the vil- 
lage. "What a joy for our dear neophytes," exclaims Joset, "to look 
down from the top of their hill on the fruits of their labor and to see 
it prosper and promise a more and more abundant harvest." But a barn 
for stacking the crops was still lacking. Father Hoecken was reluctant 
to ask the Indians to do any further work as they were worn with 

based on Joset's Memoir e sur Les Missions Catholicises d,e la Haute Columbia, 31 
pp., 1847. (Ms.). (AA). 

i6i "They had already taken a step toward the civilized life by attempting the 
cultivation of potatoes. They offered me [De Smet] some, which were the first 
I had seen since I left the United States." CR, De Smet, 1 : 34.7. 


previous labor and underfed. But Brother McGean with Hoecken's per- 
mission made an appeal to them. The response was instant. In fifteen 
days the Indians had raised a barn more than a hundred feet in length 
and after a like interval of time the roof was on. 

Some went of their own accord to the top of the mountain to cut, saw 
and split the timber for the shingles. Others brought them in on their own 
horses. The chief himself with some others cut them into shape and put them 
into place on the new building. In fifteen days everything was finished. Best 
of all, in spite of pressing hunger they performed this task amid songs and 
shouts of continual joy. 

Then came the harvest, a season of enjoyment everywhere. But the mis- 
sionary was not without disquiet. He had only a very small number of families. 
Some of the Indians seeing such a quantity of grain to cut began to lose heart; 
"you won't finish before the winter," they said. But the chief, who knew his 
people, believed it would be finished in a month. Now the grain was ripe 
and had to be garnered without delay. Everyone set to work. All sorts of 
cutting instruments were made use of. Some, unable to procure themselves 
a knife or something of the sort, pulled the grain up with much effort and 
fatigue. The Brother made himself a sort of wagon, segments from a big 
tree serving as wheels. He had hard work carrying off the grain as fast as 
they cat it. His aids were the children too small to engage in the harvest. 
If any one of their number was too lazy to help of a morning to search for 
the oxen, he was deprived that day of the honor of getting on top of the 
jolting vehicle. This was stimulus enough to stir them all. In fewer than 
fifteen days the harvest was finished and they began thereupon to enjoy the 
fruit of their labors. 

With the plentiful crops now secure^ famine was at an end. At 
the chiefs suggestion the grain was threshed by the young men and 
winnowed by the women. In addition to bread, meat would likewise 
be at hand in abundance as fifteen hundred dead deer had been brought 
in by the Indians. It would no longer be necessary for the Indians to 
live on moss, "the excess of misery," as Joset described it, nor would 
the missionary have to undergo the torture of listening to the cries of 
hungry babes with no means in his power to relieve them. Thus the 
summer of 1847 proved a turning-point in the economic status of the 

The mission buildings, as they appeared in the spring of 1849, are 
described by Father Hoecken. The church, begun in 1847 an d still un- 
finished, was of square logs and measured sixty-five by thirty-five feet 
with walls twenty feet high. The Indians were immensely pleased ; for 
them the rude structure was a St. Peter's. If it were only finished and 
furnished, it would not be out of place among the whites. "I have seen 
many a church in the States by no means preferable to it." A three- 


section wooden house built in 1845 contained kitchen, dormitory, re- 
fectory and an office where the Indians could meet and transact their 
affairs with the missionary. There was a second house with quarters 
for the superior of the mission, "poor but not unbecoming." Also, a 
carpenter-shop, a barn built in 1846 with the generous dimensions of 
one hundred and four feet by twenty, and a stable thirty by twenty- 
five. "The lands of these Indians are all sterile and little suited to 
f arming j moreover the prairie is exposed to floods in May and June. 
God has indeed blessed our labor. No mission has produced such crops 
of grain as ours, though it is the last in point of time. This is admitted 
by Rev. Father Superior [Joset] and the Brothers agree." The mission 
stood under the shadow of a hill or bluff. Joset was fearful that some 
day the hill would slip from position and wreck the buildings; but 
Hoecken thought the apprehension groundless as the hill appeared 
to him as firm as rock. An unpleasant feature was the severe winters, 
more trying than those among the Coeur d'Alenes. While Hoecken 
wrote, March 22, there -were ten feet of snow on the ground. Ordi- 
narily all farming operations were restricted to April and May. It 
was useless to do any sowing in the fall. In fine, a better site for the 
mission seemed desirable 3 but none such was available in the Kalispel 
country. 162 

In 1853, tk e Y ear before this pioneer outpost of civilization in east- 
ern Washington was moved to what is now western Montana, Dr. 
George Suckley, an army surgeon with Governor Stevens's exploring 
expedition, sought hospitality at its doors, leaving on record in the 
pages of a government report an informing picture of what he saw. 
Though his account embraces some details already set before the reader, 
it is here reproduced, as it makes plain what had been accomplished 
at the first Kalispel mission-post during the ten years it was main- 
tained. Governor Stevens in introducing the account in his report 
(1855) to President Pierce comments: "It would be difficult to find a 
more beautiful example of successful missionary labors." Dr. Suckley 

[Nov. 25, 1853] I walked up to the door of the mission-house, knocked 
and entered. I was met by the reverend Superior of the Mission, Father 
Hoecken, who in a truly benevolent and pleasing manner said: "walk in, 
you are welcome: we are glad to see the face of a white man," I introduced 
myself and the men and stated that I had come all the way from St. Marys 
by water after a journey or rather voyage of twenty-five days; that I was 
out of provisions and tired. He bade me welcome, had our things brought 
up from the boat, an excellent dinner prepared for us and a nice room to 
sleep in and treated us with the cordiality and kindness of a Christian and 

162 Hoecken ad Roothaan, March 25, 1849. 


a gentleman. In these kindnesses the Reverend Father Mennettree [Mene- 
trey] and the lay-brother, Mr. Magean [McGean] cordially took part 
all uniting in their endeavors to render us comfortable and make us feel at 
home. . . . When they came the country was one vast wilderness. The mis- 
sionaries found it hard to live. Their food consisted principally of camas 
roots and dried berries, which at best contained but very little nourishment. 
They raised some wheat which they boiled in the beard for fear of waste 
parching some of the grain to make a substitute for coffee. After this they 
slowly but steadily year by year increased in welfare. Each year added a small 
piece to their tillable ground. They then obtained pigs, poultry, cattle, horses, 
agricultural implements and tools. Their supplies of tools, seeds, groceries, 
clothing, etc. are shipped direct from Europe to the Columbia River. There 
are two lay-brethren attached to the mission. One of them Brother Francis 
[Huybrechts] is a perfect jack of all trades. He is by turns a carpenter, 
blacksmith, gunsmith and tinman in each of which he is a good workman. 
The other, Brother Magean [McGean], superintends the farming opera- 
tions. They both worked hard in bringing the mission to its present state of 
perfection, building successively a wind-mill, blacksmith and carpenter's shops, 
barns, cow-sheds, etc., besides an excellent chapel in addition to a large dwell- 
ing house of hewn timber for the missionaries. The church is quite large and 
is tastefully and even beautifully decorated. I was shown the handsomely 
carved and gilded altar, the statue of "Our Mother," brazen crosses and rich, 
bronzed fonts; work which at sight appears so well executed as to lead one 
to suppose that they have all been imported. But no; they are the result of the 
patient labor and ingenuity of the devoted missionaries, and work which is at 
the same time rich, substantial and beautiful. Works of ornament are not 
their only deeds. A grindstone, hewn out of the native rock, and moulded 
by the same hand which made the chisel which wrought it; a blacksmith's 
shop, bellows, ploughshares, bricks for their chimneys, their own tobacco- 
pipes turned with the lathe out of wood and lined with tin all have been 
made by their industry. In household economy they are not excelled. They 
make their own soap, candles, vinegar, etc. and it is both interesting and 
amusing to listen to the accounts of their plans, shifts and turns in over- 
coming obstacles at their first attempts, their repeated failures, their final 
triumphs. The present condition of the mission is as follows. Bldgs. the 
house, a good substantial, comfortable edifice; the chapel, a bldg. sufficiently 
large to accomodate the whole Kalispel nation; a small bldg. is attached 
to the dwelling-house it contains a couple of sleeping rooms and a work- 
shop, a blacksmith's shop and a store-room for the natives. These are all built 
of square or hewn lumber. Besides these are a number of smaller outbuildings 
built of logs for the accomodation of their horses and cattle during the winter 
and an excellent root-house. The mission-farm consists of about one hundred 
and sixty acres of cleared land. Wheat (spring), barley, onions, cabbage, 
parsnips, peas, beets, potatoes and carrots are the principal products. The In- 
dians are especially fond of carrots* Father Hoecken says that if the children 
see carrots growing they must eat some. Says he, "I must shut my eyes to 
the theft because they cannot, cannot resist the temptation." The Indians are 


very fond of peas and cabbage, but beets and particularly onions they dislike. 
The other production of the farm are cattle, hogs, poultry, butter and cheese. 
Around the mission-buildings are the houses of the natives. They are built of 
logs and hewn timber and are sixteen in number. There are also quite a 
number of mat and skin lodges. Although the tribe is emphatically a wander- 
ing tribe, yet the mission and its vicinity is looked upon as headquarters. To 
Lake Roothaan long celebrated for the superior quality and the vast number 
of its beaver they go to catch the latter animal and to hunt deer. 163 

The circumstances which led to the transfer of the Kalispel Mission 
of St. Ignatius from Clark's Fork to the neighborhood of Flathead 
Lake in the Upper Pend d'Oreille country are nowhere clearly set forth 
in the missionary records and correspondence. At all events the first 
location was quite undesirable, as already pointed out. It was poor farm- 
ing land and even at that subject to frequent inundations 5 besides, a 
more central position with reference to the other mountain tribes was 
needed. The Indians themselves petitioned for the removal of the 
mission to a site which they had selected as meeting their wishes and 
which fell within the limits afterwards laid out for the Jocko reserva- 
tion in western Montana. This country, the habitat of the Upper 
Kalispel, was, says Palladino, "a favorite resort of other tribes winter 
and summer, since it abounded in game, fish, roots and berries, the 
staples of Indian life, and furnished the best grazing for their 
ponies." 164 Later the Flatheads of St. Mary's Valley were removed 
to the Jocko, where in addition to the Pend d'Oreilles, Upper and 
Lower, were also gathered many bands of the Kutenai. These three 
tribes, all of Salish stock and speaking the same language with slight 
variations, formed in fact a confederacy and as such were dealt with by 
Governor Stevens in the Hell-Gate treaty of 1855, which Father 
Hoecken signed as witness. Thus the new St. Ignatius became the 
permanent rendezvous of three of the five principal tribes among whom 
De Smet had initiated his missionary program, the Coeur d'Alenes and 
the Kettle Falls Indians still clinging to their old homes. In a letter 
addressed to De Smet the Kalispel missionary, Adrian Hoecken, relates 
the founding of the new St. Ignatius: 

It was proposed, during the summer of 1854, to begin a new mission 
about 190 miles northeast of the Kalispels, not far from the Flathead lake, 
about fifty miles from the old mission of St. Mary's, among the Flatheads, 
where a convenient site had been pointed out to us by the Kalispel chief, 
Alexander, your old friend,. who often accompanied you [De Smet] in your 
travels in the Rocky Mountains. Having set out from the Kalispel Mission on 

103 U.S. 33rd Cong. 1st Sess., House Executive Document, no. 129, p. 278. 
164 Palladino, of. cit. y p. 68. 


the 28th of August, 1854, I arrived at the place designated on the 24th of 
September, and found it such as it had been represented a beautiful region, 
evidently fertile, uniting a useful as well as pleasing variety of woodland and 
prairie, lake and river the whole crowned in the distance by the white sum- 
mit of the mountains, and sufficiently rich withal in fish and game. I shall 
never forget the emotions of hope and fear that filled my heart, when for the 
first time I celebrated mass in this lonely spot, in the open air, in the presence 
of a numerous band of Kalispels, who looked up to me, under God, for their 
temporal and spiritual welfare in this new home. The place was utterly un- 
inhabited several bands of Indians live within a few days travel, whom you 
formerly visited, and where you baptized many, while others still remain 
pagan. I was in hope of gathering these around me, and God has been pleased 
to bless an undertaking begun for his glory, even beyond my expectation. 
In a few weeks we had erected several frame buildings, a chapel, two houses, 
carpenter's and blacksmith's shops; wigwams had sprung up at the same 
time all around in considerable numbers, and morning and evening you